SELECTED STUDENT PROFILES
Below are the profiles of some of the Havasupai student plaintiffs who are bringing suit against the federal government to vindicate their educational rights:
- Stephen C. is an 11-year-old Havasupai boy who lives with his grandparents in Supai, Arizona. Stephen, who is now in the 6th grade at Havasupai Elementary School, can barely read or spell due to the scarce education provided at the school. Even though Stephen has ADHD and is eligible for special education services and counselling, he has not received the resources he needs to learn. Instead, Stephen has been repeatedly pushed out of school and subject to excessive punitive discipline. For example, Stephen, who is only 11 years old, has been prosecuted in federal court for pulling the wires out of the back of a school computer monitor. To matters worse, Stephen has not received any instruction since November 21, 2016, except for about one hour of education each week. Before that date, Stephen was routinely sent home early, missing about 50% of instructional time, because the school was unable to meet his behavioral and mental health needs.
- Anna D. is an 8-year-old Havasupai girl enrolled in the 3rd grade at Havasupai Elementary School. Anna’s teachers have repeatedly left during the middle of the school year. Anna’s 1st grade teacher, for example, switched at least 5 times over the course of a single school year. Although Anna has a keen interest in basketball and tribal-cultural activities, there are no opportunities for her to pursue these interests through school. She has never even been offered to the chance to participate in a school-sponsored field trip. The only structured activity outside of school that her mother Elsa D. can recall was when Anna and her classmates picked up trash outside of the school for Earth Day.
- Durell P. is a 13-year-old Havasupai boy who lives with his mother Billie P. Durell is a 7th grader at Havasupai Elementary School. Since he was 8-years-old, Durell has only been permitted to attend school for about 20% of the school year. This past semester, for example, Durell was relegated to a homebound placement and received as little as 5 hours of instruction per week. Because the school lacks a system to address his behavioral and mental health needs, Durell has not attended school full-time for over 4 years, leading to large deficits in his academic performance. His mother Billie was forced to place Durell in a residential placement in Utah for 45, as a condition of his continued enrollment at the school. During the placement, Durell was subjected to repeated use of physical restraints and was unable to communicate with his family for long periods. In addition, Durell, who has multiple disabilities and was the victim of sexual abuse as a young child, is being criminally prosecuted for assault for pushing a teacher. He spent over a week at a federal detention facility.
- Taylor P. is 6-year-old Havasupai girl and the sister of Durell P. Taylor P. is enrolled in kindergarten at Havasupai Elementary School. Even though this is Taylor’s first year in school, the lack of staff at the school has led to dangerous conditions when children are routinely left unsupervised. For example, Taylor was recently pushed against a wall and choked by another student while her teacher was not watching. In another incident, Taylor was sexually assaulted by a classmate on the playground. In neither situation was Taylor’s mother Billie informed by the school of what had happened.
- Levi R. is a 13-year-old Havasupai boy who attends 8th grade at a public school in Yavapai County, Arizona. His mother Laila R. recently moved her family out of Supai due to the inadequacy of the education provided at the school. Like other students with disabilities, Levi was not provided with a functioning system of special education, and instead subject to traumatic punitive discipline. When he was only 10 years old, Levi was forcibly restrained in the classroom. During this incident, a teacher sat and laid on Levi while he repeatedly cried out and yelled, “I can’t breathe. Get off of me, you’re hurting me.” Levi was then placed on a restricted-hours schedule, depriving him of critical learning time for years. His mother Laila was repeatedly told there was not enough staff to hold an Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting to discuss Levi’s special education needs. As a result of these experiences, Levi is behind in all academic areas, but particularly reading. In the 5th grade, for example, Levi was only reading at a 2nd grade level.
- Leo R. is a 15-year-old Havasupai boy, and the older brother of student plaintiff Levi R. Leo attended Havasupai Elementary School from kindergarten through the 8th Because the Havasupai Elementary School does not provide a high school education, Leo was forced to leave his family in order to continue his education at a public high school in Arizona. However, due to the deficient education Leo had received in Supai, he struggled academically in the 9th grade, failing multiple classes and passing others with Ds. Recently, Leo’s mother Laila finally decided to move her family out of Supai. Leo is currently in the 10th grade at a public school in Yavapai County.