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Dear Mr. Kiser,

I, too, was a victim of Florida School for Boys. In 1963 I was sent to Marianna by Glen Bright, a judge, in Panama City, Florida, for not going to school. The reason I would not go to school, was because my father was an alcoholic and we had no money, for shoes or clothes and most of the time we went hungry. I woke up in the 8th grade and I was not even able to read. When I did go to school, they put me in a special ed class in Everitt Jr. High School. The teacher sat at the front of the room and read novels to herself while we played games and colored. No teaching was done in that special education class. When I really needed, one on one, training in phonics to help me learn to read. These things I never got at home. So I decided that going to schooll and being laughed at was not an option and I wouldn't go any longer. I spent 9 months in that hellacious hole in Jefferson cottage,( and my locker number was 51).

I think I still do remember these things after all these years. There wasn't a day up there that I wasn't humiliated, not only by the people that worked there, that were supposed to be helping us and protecting us, but by the inmates too. I also had to fight every day, just to survive. And, do that without getting caught by the cottage fathers. I have several stories that I would like to tell after all of these years, that I've tried to forget ,and thought I had forgotten, until I started seeing this on tv. The very morning that I heard it, I told my wife that the one armed man was Mr. Tidwell. I remembered his name after all these years. I was threatened several times by him personally. He threatened me because I took up for a young boy that was being slapped in the back of the head while we were on the bleachers. When one of the inmates rose his hand to slap him again I knocked his hand down. At that time Tidwell saw me and threatened me with a trip to the white house. All I was doing was standing up for a defenseless person I did not even know.

I did know of one boy that was in Jefferson cottage that ran. From the day he got there he ran three different times. Each time he went to the white house. On the fourth time he never came back. No one ever heard anything from him again. I certainly believe anything could have happened to him because they had absolute authority to do anything that they wanted to to us young boys. If they beat them in the white house, they kept them in detention until they were completely well. I spent 3 weeks in detention myself just for saying that I felt like I wanted to run. They called the runners jack rabbits.

All I had was a cot with a plastic mattress and a bucket to use the bathroom in. They slid my meals in on a tray. If you can imagine a person not being able to read and confined to a room for three weeks, that's what hell is all about. Speaking of meals, the doctor, that was up there. occassionally put laxatives in our food. They did not tell us when they were doing this. One particular time after standing in line for about two hours, and not being allowed to go to the bathroom I had a little accident , I tried to sneak my undershorts out and throw them away so no one would know. The cottage father caught me. Not only did he talk down to me, he humiliated me in front of the other inmates. The only thing that kept me from commiting suicide was my determination to do whatever it took to get the hell out of there and that I DID. How the state could do this to a 14 year old boy who had never been in trouble is unbelievable.

(My wife said that if Glen Bright would have bought me a pair of shoes and some blue jeans to wear to school that I probably would have been a different person, because she thinks I am very smart. I don't think so because I am not a very good speller. She says spelling isn't everything and that I am very smart. I have common sense, not book sense.) If they knew what was going on up there they should be sued. If they didn't know what was going on up there, they should be sued for not doing their job. If they knew about the torture and humiliation and beatings they should have stopped it immediately and turned us all loose. The good ones should not have been placed in the same areas with the bad ones, and there were some bad ones . If I had wanted to be bad that was damn sure the place to learn how. The state should be sued. I think they really need to answer for what they have done to hundreds of young boys. I know my life has been affected. I had nightmares for years after I got out of that damn place. I was just a young boy with good common sense and that did not need to be done to me just because we were poor.

I got into the Job Corps when I turned 16. I learned to read. I learned a trade and how to make my own money so I could buy my own shoes and clothes If I can be of any service to you in this endeavor, please feel free to contact me.

My name is Carl, I live in Florida. My daughter, had originally emailed you about all of this. I was so upset about it that I didn't want to do or say anything. Then I got to thinking about what happened to me and what if it had happened to one of my children or grandchildren and I just couldn't leave it alone. I'm not the best writer, but hope you understand what I've said here.

Sincerely,
Carl