Author Topic: The Senate of Iowa will not protect teenagers in boarding schools from abuse  (Read 6986 times)

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Offline Oscar

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Iowa's Senate will protect boarding school owners from inspection and oversight.

Iowa Senate rejects Midwest Academy bill
by William Petroski, Desmoines Register, April 18 - 2016

The Iowa Senate on Monday rejected an amended bill to regulate children's boarding schools like the beleaguered Midwest Academy, sending the measure back to the House.

Senate Democrats objected to changes approved by House Republicans last week that made some exemptions for boarding schools linked to religious groups. Sen. Herman Quirmbach, D-Ames, said the House version would allow a state bureaucrat to determine what constitutes a bona-fide religious institution, which could be unconstitutional. He also contended the House measure would exempt a boarding school from providing an educational program, and the entire facility could be staffed by sex offenders.

The Senate's action likely sends Senate File 2304 to a House-Senate conference committee, where lawmakers will try to resolve their differences.

"The House amendment guts the Senate bill," Quirmbach said. The original Senate measure, which established minimal standards for boarding schools, was aimed at preventing problems like those reported at the now-closed Midwest Academy in Lee County. Federal and state authorities raided the southeast Iowa school in January and the facility’s owner has been accused by a former student of sex abuse and other crimes.

Sen. Julian Garrett, R-Indianola, unsuccessfully urged the Senate to accept the House amendment. He said the original Senate bill is an example of lawmakers overreacting to a problem by casting too wide of a regulatory net. The changes approved by the House are intended to protect "the good guys," he said.