CNN has printed a chilling exposé on what happened at the now defunct Florida Industrial School for Boys In Mariana Florida. The account details death, and unmarked graves. The Florida reform school for Boys and Magdalena Laundries share shocking similarities.
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There is a lot of mystery as to exactly what happened to the students at the Florida reform school for Boys, however, what is clear is that many, many children died.
According to CNN, a 2009 state investigation determined there was no evidence of criminal activity connected with any of the deaths at the school or abusive treatment.
Why then are there so many bodies buried and perhaps another grave where black students may have been buried?
Former students, who are now senior citizens, have come forward telling chilling stories of abuse, beatings, killings and the disappearance of students.
The “white house boys“, as they are called, say that they were taken to a building where they received severe punishment.
They also say that they witnessed murders and that some of the students, after receiving severe beatings, disappeared during the 50s and the 60s.
The “white house boys” claim that the abuse was at the hands of reform school workers and administrators.
After the 2009 investigation, authorities said they would not be performing any exhumations of the graves.
Dr. Erin Kimmerle is heading up the investigation about what really happened at the Florida industrial school for boys calling it a humanitarian effort to identify and remember those who died.
She and her team are using sophisticated equipment to analyze the grounds beneath the former school and uncover buried bodies
Apparently school records were sparse and there were claims that many died at the facility in a 1918 flu outbreak.
A disturbing case involves the death of Owen Krell who reportedly ran away from home in 1940.
He was sent to the reform school and his family received a letter from the school saying that he had run away. They then say they subsequently received a phone call saying that their son had been found dead.
The family traveled to the school and when they arrived, school officials at the Florida reform school allegedly told them that their son was already buried. According to the family, they were told that the body was so decomposed that they would not be able to identify him so they took him straight out to the school and buried him.
His sister believes that they shot him and brought him back to the school and buried him on the school grounds
Hearing about what possibly, and very likely, occurred at the now defunct Florida Industrial School for Boys, brings to mind the unspeakable treatment that children received at The Magdelene Laundries in Ireland.
In 2004, an order of nuns in Dublin, Ireland sold off part of their convent to real estate developers.
It was then discovered that on the property there were 133 women buried in unmarked graves.
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The women were reportedly virtual prisoners behind the convent walls and were sentenced to a life of servitude in the Magdelene Laundries for either committing very minor crimes or simply being “too pretty”.
The Magdelene Laundries was a huge laundry business that was run by the Sisters of Mercy nuns.
Young women were forced into servitude and tortured, all in the name of God. The women worked without compensation, were starved, and physically and emotionally abused.
The last laundry was closed in September of 1996.
Florida reform school for Boys and Magdalene Laundries share shocking similarities demonstrating a cruel pattern or abuse and even death at a time when parents blindly trusted the care of their children to “officials”.
The families that think their children might be buried at the old Florida school for boys may decide to petition the state to ask for grave sites to be exhumed.
We will probably never know the true tally of how many died at both Florida reform school for Boys and Magdalene Laundries.