THE MIAMI NEWS FEB 26, 1969
Spare The Rod
This is a report dealing with corporal punishment at Florida's largest training school for delinquent boys at
Behind the dining hall is a small yellow house in the front is a large sign that says ice cream factory and to the
public this is exactly what it means. To the boys at school, the connection is slightly different. To them it
means the place where the director tears my rear end up If I get caught breaking the rules
Every Saturday morning the boys are brought to this house and two at a time are carried inside. One of them
is told to wait on a bench in the waiting room. The other boy is directed to get on the bed and grab a mouth
full pillow. He is also instructive that any form of emotional outburst will only bring more punishment.
The superintendent, his assistant, or the director of one of the departments takes a strap from a hook on the
wall. The strap is 6 feet in length, 3 inches wide and about a quarter of an inch thick. The individual
administering the punishment doubles the strap and very slowly raised the over his head. The shadow is
clearly thrown on the wall and the boy on the bed sees the, mentally stiffens. The strap is brought down
sharply on the boys thighs. The first time the boy cries out, but not the second time. Boys learn quick how to
act in this room.
The belt falls between eight and 100 times. After about the 10th stroke, the seams of the sturdiest blue jeans
again to separate and numerous times the boy's skin is broken to the extent that stitches are required
This report is from a former house father at Marianna, who is now personnel manager at another Florida
institution. A regional supervisor state corrections services, added even more dramatic accounting:
The strap was wielded by a man who was at least six foot 3 inches tall and weighed well over 200 pounds. His
swing could be likened to a strong tennis serve as with a whip like effect at the end of the downswing. The
results are sickening. The child quivers and writhes in a contorted manner from the pain of a sadistic
treatment. Not only repulsive but somewhat criminal in nature.
Another supervisor who trained for year at Marianna described a boy as bleeding profusely, the skin was
broken, and the color of his buttocks were bleeding profusely and the color of his buttocks was green, blue,
red and purplish.......It reminded me of the dark ages.
It reminds a lot of people of the dark ages, most notably OJ Keller Junior, Director of the State's Division of
Youth Services. Carrying out the mandate of the 1967 legislature. Keller ordered cessation of punishment
with a paddle and the strap. Marianna schools superintendent Lenox Williams resigned because he lived with
the old adage spare the Rod and Spoil the Child. The towns people of Marianna are in an uproar because
they too, think more corporal punishment is in order to keep the delinquents in a reasonably calm state.
As Keller points out in a lengthy letter to this reporter, many states have long ago abandoned the idea of
control behavior through impulsive swinging at the youngsters.
The assistant commissioner for youth services in the state of Tennessee, thinks corporal punishment is
barbaric and should of gone out with the horse and buggy. Thomas G. Pinnock supervisor of juvenile
rehabilitation in the state of Washington says, it is hard for me to imagine that there is any state in the union.
In this day and age which use corporal punishment. It is forbidden in both adult and juvenile institutional
ED Sherman, an official in the state of Rhode Island, was even more vigorous in his denunciation of sadism.
He wrote Keller: I can think of nothing more horrible, distressing and destructive of the aims, goals and
objectives of up any training school worthy of its name. Barbarism of that kind is worthy only of the British
Navy of the early 19 entry and enemies with whom we deal.
Officials of the states of Massachusetts, Illinois, Vermont, Colorado, North Carolina, Kansas, Minnesota and
Wisconsin agree on a single point. You can't beat goodness into a person. There is only one reason why
most County Judges who have sent boys to Marianna are pleased that Keller appointed Jack V. Blanton of
Miami to take charge of the Marianna school. Blanton through years of juvenile and probation work, knows
corporal punishment in an institution has none of the merits to make it acceptable and effective in the home.
The Florida Council of juvenile court judges toured the Marianna school last week then passed a resolution
expressing confidence in Keller, and urged the staff and facilities in all state training schools be improved.