State Sued Over Treatment of Juveniles at Iowa Training School

IOWA  --  The state of Iowa is facing a lawsuit over the treatment of juveniles at a state-run home.

The suit alleges dozens have been mistreated at the Iowa State Training School for Boys in Eldora. The Des Moines Register reports the suit was filed by Disability Rights Iowa and a New York nonprofit called Children's Rights Inc. They cite the use of isolation rooms at the school, as well as juveniles being denied mental health services.

The lawsuit names the school's superintendent Mark Day and Iowa DHS director Jerry Foxhoven.

Over the summer, Disability Rights Iowa released a report accusing the school of using excessive punishment methods. Foxhoven defended its practices, saying they were necessary due to the history of violence for some residents.

"These are kids who may have killed somebody, even. They might be convicted of murder or serious assaults. These are kids who have a bad criminal history. We don't swaddle them because of that, but when they become violent and it puts other kids at risk, we are going to try and protect the other kids," Foxhoven said.

Richard Shults, the DHS administrator in charge of mental health services, is also a defendant in the lawsuit.