Dietrich town hall aimed at finding solutions

Many are calling for change.

BOISE - Local organizations and people are planning a town hall to give communities a chance to share how the Dietrich case has affected them.

From that meeting, a list of suggestions and solutions will be drafted and shared with stakeholders.

The Dietrich case has affected many Idahoans, and some say has put a spotlight on the need for change.

“We have all heard from Idahoans across the state that have shared stories of not feeling wanted, of being harassed abused, or not wanted,” said Kelly Miller, Executive Director for the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence.

Miller says the April 25th town hall is being held to give people a space and time to share how the Dietrich case has impacted them, and from there move forward.

“I'm excited to see what Idahoans will come up with for solutions," said Miller. "We will think of training for schools to see how they can report these things more quickly, what can we do to start programming in kindergarten through college to increase acceptance and tolerance and focusing on love and valuing people for who they really are.”

Revisiting school bullying policies is an element the Idaho Council on Developmental Disabilities sees as critical.

“If that would have had intervention immediately, I don't think this assault would have taken place,” said Christine Pisani, Executive Director for the Idaho Council on Developmental Disabilities.

“Could he have been protected? Absolutely,” said attorney Lee Schlender who is representing the victim’s family in a civil suit against the Dietrich School District.

Schlender says what happened in the small town isn't just going on locally.

“There's hundreds of these cases pending around the nation right now, it’s a national epidemic in school violence of children against children,” said Schlender.

“Most people with disabilities experience abuse with a rate of 85 to 90 percent throughout their life, so it’s a national issue, it’s certainly an issue here in Idaho,” adds Pisani.

People collectively coming forward on April 25th to make schools a safe space for everyone, organizers say could be one positive outcome of what happened in Dietrich.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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