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Florida Cabinet approves USF researchers’ request for exhumation permit

The Florida Cabinet voted Tuesday morning to approve the University of South Florida’s request to begin exhuming grave sites at the Dozier School for Boys.

When Dozier researchers had their request for an exhumation permit denied for a second time on July 15, they created a petition asking state officials to reconsider.

USF graduate student Mary Cairns also created an online petition asking state officials to reconsider.

“It’s really not just an academic issue,” Cairns said. “I thought many people would have an interest in assuring that the people who died and were buried at Dozier had their voices heard.”

Researchers from USF’s anthropology department have been studying the grave site at the Dozier School for Boys since 2011, but their initial two requests for an exhumation permit were denied.

A press release from USF said excavation work could now begin as early as this month.

— Reporting by Roberto Roldan