Judge Pares Down Havasupai Student Lawsuit

By Laurel Morales
Published: Friday, December 20, 2019 - 10:54pm

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The Havasupai live at the bottom of the Grand Canyon in Supai Village, which is only accessible by foot, mule, or helicopter.

A federal judge has ruled on a lawsuit that accuses the U.S. Bureau of Indian Education of failing to provide for Havasupai students with special needs and other claims.

Attorneys for several students want to force the Bureau of Indian Education to provide a thorough curriculum, culturally relevant education and staff training to respond to trauma. They argued the agency wasn't following Department of Education and other federal regulations.

But U.S. District Judge Steven Logan ruled the Bureau of Indian Education isn't required to. So Logan pared down the lawsuit. Only one of the six claims remain.

The Native American Disability Law Center said it will appeal because every child in the United States is entitled to those protections.

The Bureau of Indian Education has admitted to obstacles like recruiting and retaining staff in the most isolated school in the country. The Havasupai live at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. All of the students qualify for free or reduced lunches and most are limited in English and math proficiency.

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