Historic Settlement Reached In Advancing The Educational Rights Of Native American Students
October 5, 2020
PHOENIX, ARIZONA – October 2, 2020 – Arizona District Court Judge Steven Logan approved a historic settlement in a civil rights lawsuit brought by students attending Havasupai Elementary School and the Native American Disability Law Center (NADLC) addressing the wholesale denial of educational opportunities for Native American students with disabilities. The settlement is a crucial first step in ensuring that the federal Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) fulfils its obligation to ensure that students with disabilities at Havasupai Elementary School receive equal access to education.
“This historic agreement has paved a path forward for my three children to have educational opportunities they were deprived of at Havasupai Elementary School. While nothing can ever make up for the time they lost, we now have an opportunity to look to the future and get them the education they have always been entitled to and deserve,” said Billie P., mother of student Plaintiffs Durell P., Taylor P. and Freddy P.
As a result of the lawsuit, the BIE has issued the first-ever national policy implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, an anti-discrimination law the BIE admits it must comply with. The policy includes how to identify, evaluate and provide accommodations to students with disabilities, including those exposed to childhood trauma to ensure they are provided equal access to education.