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Politics / Issues
Get the latest coverage of the 2021 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and WUSF.

Living survivors of the Dozier School would be compensated under bill proposed by Darryl Rouson

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Edmund D. Fountain/Tampa Bay Times
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File Pool Photo

State Sen. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, said “too many have died and have not been made whole."

Legislation filed for the upcoming session would begin the process of officially identifying living survivors of the Arthur Dozier School for Boys in Marianna and the Florida School for Boys in Okeechobee.

Hundreds of Dozier students alleged brutal beatings, mental abuse and sexual abuse at the Jackson County school, and similar stories have been told about the Okeechobee reform school.

State Sen. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, spoke in support of the bill Monday, which would see how many victims could potentially receive compensation from the state.

“Too many have died and have not been made whole," Rouson said. "The least we can do for those still living and surviving these injuries and this painful experience in their lives is get them compensation.”

Charles Fudge, who attended the Dozier school from 1960 to 1961, feels eventual compensation will be helpful to survivors, who are mostly in their 70s and 80s.

“We’re all old guys with not much time left," Fudge said. "It would be nice to have a little compensation to be able to take and just rest and not try to make a dollar at our age.”

The bill would apply to people who were at the reform schools from 1940 to 1975.

People certified as victims could file claims under a section of state law that provides assistance to victims.

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