Battleground Eldora: Inside an activist group’s crusade to radically reform the Boys State Training School (Part 3)

The old State Training School Administration office.

What does a safer State Training School— both for the boys who live there and the employees who work there—look like? As the parties and their attorneys wait for a decision on the landmark lawsuit detailed in the previous two installments, experts and officials have some ideas, which isn’t to say that they’re striking a harmonious chord.

In 2017, the Eldora Police Department, which has legal jurisdiction over the Training School because it falls within city limits, received a staggering 92 calls for service to 3211 Edgington Avenue. Of those, 38—over 40 percent of them— were specifically marked as “assaults.”

Danny Homan, the president of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 61 in Des Moines, places the blame directly at the feet of groups like Disability Rights Iowa (DRI) for threatening the well-being of the employees his union represents and forcing the shutdown of the Iowa Juvenile Home (IJH) in Toledo. He’s even used the phrase “witch hunt” to describe the lawsuit.

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