RWS Comments on article: Boys Volunteer For Beatings To Work Way Out
The article describes in detail how some boys have their points taken care of. When they get a
low grade by volunteering to take a beating. I believe this is probably true, and may have been
going on when I was there in 1963. I personally was not aware of anybody that actually did this.
I can only state that if the beatings were as brutal as they were when I was there in 1963. I have
to believe they were much worse. In 1958 when this article was written. Superintendent HB
Michel, who commented, if I spanked all boys who asked for a spanking I'd be spanking boys all
day Saturday. I have a very large problem in believing this statement to be true. I can't believe
there would be that many boys that would request a spanking.
According to the study of 250 white boys committed at one time to Marianna showed that they
had at that point been given 691 whippings among them. That is right at three whippings per
boy. The disturbing part of this study is 11-year-old boys had received 265 or 38% of the
beatings and 17-year-old boys receive 21, or, but 3%. The older the boy, the less beatings he
received. The reason for this is not spoken of in this document. It is the fact that there was
some fear among the people that were doing these beatings that the older boys might retaliate
in some violent manner against them. Several of the men that I talked to told me in tears, grown
men that had fought in Vietnam, who said the worst thing they ever had to witness or do, was to
hold down one of these small boys while they were being whipped. That memory, all concurred,
would be one that would follow them to the grave.
That the small boys, who were from 9 to 12 years old, received the most of the beatings, only
showed the lack of sensibility by the staff as to what result this might have on the boys in the
future. Brutal beatings given to boys at an early age can only result in mental disaster. Those
are the boys, who, when they attain adulthood, are most likely to be the ones that will pass on
this legacy of rage to their own children, sisters, brothers and wives. I received many letters
from daughters in particular, who wrote me saying that they did not understand why their father
was incapable of love, why they would not hug them, or show affection. Or, there were those
that could not understand why their father whipped them, often in the same manner as they
were beaten, made to lie down on their bed, to grasp the rail of the bed, and to look at the wall.
Blood begets blood so true, and here comes that righteous vengeful hand, passed on down
the line. These good Christian church-going men, administered punishment with a vengeance.
Men, who were given power over others, caved in to the dark side of evil and reveled this task
presented to them. They answer to no one, and when an inspection of the school was to occur,
everybody knew about it at least a week before. These men and women that were assigned the
task of modern monitoring schools like the Florida school for boys, breezed through the
cottage is, in one door and out the other, hardly bothering to check out anything, such as the
condition of the showers, or the boys locker room, or any other sanitary conditions. None,
certainly, were ever taken on a tour to the White House. As for the boys, they were dressed in
the best clothes they had, and you had better be a happy little boy playing in the sunshine.
Under the towering pine trees or face the consequences. I witness this with my own eyes,
remembering at least two trips by these inspectors, both male and female, who did a cursor
area examination of the hospital where I work, chatted with the doctor and nurse, and did not
bother to interview or ask any question of any boys it might be a patient there.
The damage that these beatings caused was not confined to Marianna alone, but like ripples in
a pond, traveled down through generations. Boys, now men, that turned the rage in themselves
upon their own family members, and on the innocent public. Many, many of these boys went on
to commit violent crimes and were subsequently locked up in prisons, their lives ruined for
years, some even set on death row now, as this article is written.