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Family member of Dozier School victim upset remains will be reburied on school property

Posted at 3:58 PM, Jan 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-29 11:10:46-05

TAMPA, Fla. — "My grandfather never knew what happened to him and the family just kind of thought that he abandoned the family so he was not spoken of,” said Charles Parrott.

His 14-year-old great uncle, Clarence Parrott, died at Florida's notorious reform school, the Dozier School for Boys.

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"I was just contacted a few weeks ago by the State of Florida telling me that, oh yeah, hey, you know, your great uncle is being re-interred in the place that he was just dumped when he died,” said Parrott.

Parrott says he got short notice of the burial and as a disabled veteran is not able to attend the ceremony on Wednesday in Marianna, FL. He also says the State has not been clear exactly how the reburied remains will be be marked or memorialized.

8 boys who died in a 1914 dorm fire will be reburied on what's known as Boot Hill. It’s the same spot USF Anthropologists excavated the remains of dozens of boys who died under suspicious circumstances.

"They didn't have a proper burial. They were all just dumped in unmarked graves and now what remains that are left, are being placed back in the same place, you know, with no consideration to the family,” said Parrott.

The State says every action is being taken pursuant to the law that was passed and signed by the Governor. The law states there will two memorials to the Dozier reburials-- one in Jackson County and a second in Leon County. The law also states the 1914 fire victims will be buried with care on Dozier school property. Plans or photos for the memorials have not been made public.

40 unidentified Dozier boys' remains are to be buried Friday in a Tallahassee cemetery.

"Since they were initially buried without markers, I think that's something to be very sensitive to,” said USF’s Dr. Erin Kimmerle.

Dozier was shut down in 2011 amid allegations of sexual and physical abuse. USF excavated the remains from Boot Hill in an effort to find family members and return the remains for a proper burial.

"It's very much a story about marginalization and who counts in society and whose voices are heard. Children, children in trouble, poor children in trouble, they tend to be the most marginalized,” said Dr. Kimmerle.

More than 100 years later, this grandnephew wonders if anything has changed.

"I kind of feel they should be put in a more respectful place,” said Parrott. "All of the families should have been more involved in the decision as to what is going to happen."