The Dozier School for Boys

Forensics, Survivors, and a Painful Past

  • Interest Level: Grade 8 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 8

Some true crimes reveal themselves in bits and pieces over time. One such case is the Florida School for Boys, a.k.a. the Dozier School, a place where—rather than reforming the children in their care—school officials tortured, raped, and killed them. Opened in 1900, the school closed in 2011 after a Department of Justice investigation substantiated allegations of routine beatings and killings made by about 100 survivors. Thus far, forensic anthropologist Dr. Erin Kimmerle and her team from the University of South Florida have uncovered fifty-five sets of human remains. Follow this story of institutional abuse, the brave survivors who spoke their truth, and the scientists and others who brought it to light.

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Interest Level Grade 8 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 8
Genre Social Studies, Young Adult
Category 5 Kinds of Nonfiction, 5KN: Narrative Nonfiction, Diverse Books: Race & Ethnicity, Diverse Books: Social Justice, Diversity
Copyright 2020
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Twenty-First Century Books ™
Language English
Number of Pages 120
Publication Date 2019-09-03
Text Type Narrative Nonfiction
BISACS YAN052010, YAN031000, YAN051160
Dewey 365/.975993
Graphics 1-color illustrations, Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 6 x 9
Lexile 1090
Features Awards, Bibliography/further reading, Glossary, Reviewed, Sidebars, Source notes, and Starred Reviews

Author: Elizabeth A. Murray, PhD

Dr. Elizabeth A. Murray is a native Cincinnatian from a large family. When she was young, Elizabeth always thought she may grow up to be a writer, teacher, scientist, or explorer—now that she is a college professor and forensic scientist, she is active in all of those fields! Elizabeth always loved science; it was her favorite subject in school. In college, she studied biology and discovered that she found humans to be the most interesting animals, so she continued her studies in the field of anthropology. Being a very practical person, Elizabeth wanted her research focus to have tangible results and benefits that could aid society, and this led her to the forensic application of anthropology. It took many years of college and lots of hard work to become a forensic scientist, but Elizabeth says that teaching is still the very best part of her job. She enjoys taking difficult concepts in science and explaining them in a way that is interesting and relevant to her students.


  • Kirkus Best Young Adult Books of the Year, Winner, 2019


School Library Journal

“[A] true crime story which should fascinate young readers. Recommended for all middle, high school, and public library collections.”—School Library Journal


“©ogent and chilling. . . . [T]eens interested in learning more will be well served by this thorough, informative volume.”—starred, Booklist

Kirkus Reviews

“A grim, harrowing, and important read with insights into the troubled juvenile justice system.”—starred, Kirkus Reviews