Dietrich seeks dismissal of $10 million civil lawsuit

The Dietrich School District wants a judge to dismiss a $10 million civil suit stemming from an October 2015 locker-room assault.

The Twin Falls Times-News reported this week on the motion to dismiss.

According to the motion, Dietrich High School football coaches and students saw no incidents of harassment or bullying before the grisly attack on a mentally disabled student. The school assigned an independent, full-time professional to shadow the student; she described the student as popular and happy, and said he was never the target of bullying.

The district’s account stands in direct contradiction to the civil claim, filed by the victim’s family. The lawsuit says school staff knew of an escalating pattern of bullying and harassment directed at the victim — or they should have known of it.

The latest court documents also provide new revelations into the attack, the Times-News reported.

In an affidavit, Tanner Ray Ward said John R.K. Howard repeatedly kicked a coat hanger into the victim’s buttocks. That contradicts the way the attack was described during Howard’s sentencing, the Times-News reported.

Howard, charged as an adult, pleaded guilty to felony injury to a child. He could avoid jail time and have his conviction dismissed if he successfully completes probation.

Ward pleaded guilty in a sealed juvenile case. He was one of three students charged in the attack.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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