2017: The Boys in the Bunkhouse


The Boys in the Bunkhouse tells the true story of dozens of Texas men with intellectual disabilities who lived in a schoolhouse in Atalissa, Iowa.  From the mid-1970s until 2009, the men were bussed to a nearby turkey processing plant in return for food, lodging, and $65 a month. They endured increasing neglect, exploitation, and physical and emotional abuse. In 2009, journalists, social workers, and a labor lawyer for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission helped them gain freedom. 

Author Dan Barry is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and columnist for The New York Times.  His book The Boys in the Bunkhouse is a 2017 nominee for both the Hillman Prize and the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award.

The public was invited to attend a free panel discussion based on the book The Boys in the Bunkhouse by Dan Barry in the B.J. Haan Auditorium at Dordt College.  Panelists included:

  • Clark Kauffman, Investigative Reporter for the Des Moines Register
  • Jane Hudson, Director of Disability Rights Iowa
  • Sue Gant, expert witness for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Ronald Vos, Professor Emeritus of Agriculture, Dordt College

The panel discussion was moderated by Abby Foreman, Associate Professor of Social Work, Dordt College.


Watch the panel discussion: