THE BOY'S AND THE GIRL'S PERSONAL STORIES
THE SLANG WORDS USED IN THAT ERA:
Every institution develops its own distinctive jargon, and the Florida School for Boys is no exception. Here's a sample of the "in" talk among the youngsters there.
THE MAN-anyone in authority-DING-DONG-a warning that The Man is coming-A PUKE-a boy who tells on others-PUKE SOMEONE OUT-to squeal on another boy-GOURD-your head-A SCUM-a boy held in low esteem-TO RATE-to be popular-A DUCK-to get out of a task-LOUIE-a light bulb-TIGHT MAN-a good, close friend-STONE BRAIN-dumb, thick-headed-A CJ-a con job-GET STRAIGHT-straighten up and behave-LAMP-an eye, as in "I'm going to bust you in the lamp."-SCARF HARD-eat fast.
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THE BEATINGS: For most of its history, Dozier freely practiced flogging as a method of discipline, or as a matter of whim. Mr. Bowers remembers, "They would spank the boys when they did wrong or really whenever they wanted to. Some of them they treated pretty badly and they couldn't sit down for days.
Many beatings were bad. Sometimes they'd spank the children until they would have to lay on their stomachs for two or three days at a time. The beatings were administered with a "weighted leather 'flogging strap." A witness to a flogging described them as "sickening".
A young boy [was] taken into a stark, bare, dimly lit room where he was compelled t o lie on a small cot and receive licks with a heavy leather strap. At the time the strap was being wielded by a man who was at least six feet, three inches and weighed well over two hundred pounds. The child quivers and writhes.
Another witness saw a child returning from a flogging and "bleeding profusely." Floggings were not "officially" discontinued until 1968.
Ultimately, the crowded conditions, lack of staff and facilities, and beatings do nothing but return a child t o society in worse condition than when he entered the institution:
We are working in a terribly primitive field. Primitive. Punitive. Brutal. I don't like large institutions. I don't like what happens to children in them. One of my men says living in a training school is as cozy as living in a wash bay of a filling station. I agree. The child is returned to the streets with none of his family problems solved. And he's more sophisticated in crime.