Nine children from an Arizona tribe are suing the federal government, alleging that they and other children in Bureau of Indian Education schools have been routinely denied the right to a basic education.
The children, ages six to 15, are members of the Havasupai tribe based in and around the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Arizona, names the Bureau of Indian Education and the U.S. Interior Department as defendants.
According to the lawsuit, the K-8 Havasupai Elementary School shuts down for weeks at a time because there aren’t enough teachers. The school also lacks textbooks and a functioning library, and only teaches students math and reading when open.
According to the complaint, Havasupai Elementary is among the worst-performing schools in the nation. The federal civil rights complaint, filed by the Native American Disability Law Center, also alleges that the school has failed to properly evaluate and educate students with disabilities, with some spending as little as three hours per week in school.
A version of this article appeared in the January 18, 2017 edition of Education Week as Tribal Students Sue Feds Over School Conditions