Stephen C. v. Bureau of Indian Education

Havasupai Elementary School (HES), run by the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), is the only elementary school available to members of the Havasupai Tribe. Nine students, along with the Native American Disability Law Center, sued the BIE and the U.S. Department of Interior for failing to provide general and special education services to students at HES. 

The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona held that the Court could not provide relief to any plaintiff who transferred, dropped out, or graduated from HES after the suit was filed.

Juvenile Law Center joined Education Civil Rights Alliance, National Center for Youth Law, and 11 other advocacy organizations in filing an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The brief argued that the District Court did have the power to grant all students named as plaintiffs meaningful equitable remedies to redress their injuries. Specifically, the brief argued that all Havasupai children ever named as plaintiffs are entitled to compensatory education, a forward-looking remedy designed to provide services and resources to students previously deprived of adequate education.

The Ninth Circuit held that the District Court erred in dismissing plaintiffs who no longer attend HES, and that the APA does not preclude these students from seeking compensatory education as an equitable remedy.