Severe Punishments for Native American Students in Utah

arrested

American Indian and Native-Alaskan students have been facing disproportionate punishments for years. These students represent less than 1 percent of the student population, yet they make up 2 percent of out-of-school suspensions and 3 percent of expulsions.

Even worse, however, is the fact that many Native students in Utah are also facing high arrest rates, pushing many of these students away from and out of school.

A report released by the University of Utah revealed that Native American students in Utah are almost 8 times more likely to be referred to law enforcement and 6 times more likely to be arrested than white students. In fact, during the 2011-2012 school year, 55 Native American students in Utah ranging from kindergartners to sixth graders were referred to police officers.

The reasons for these referrals and arrests are unknown, as this information is not collected in a standardized manner. However, in the case of one known arrest, the punishment did not seem to meet the crime. In 2014, two Native American boys from a middle school in the San Juan School District were in the teachers lounge, looking for a teacher. In the lounge was a refrigerator, inside which the boys found bottles of Dr. Pepper. They each took and drank a bottle, but were caught.

The boys were arrested on charges of theft.

These boys are not the only ones in the San Juan School District who have been referred to the police. The district referred more than 10 percent of Native American students to law enforcement. The amount of white students who were referred, however, was less than 2 percent. One high school in the district even referred almost a third of its American Indian students.

The high rate of Native student arrests in Utah is quite alarming, especially considering the fact that Native Americans, who only make up about 1.5% of the total population in Utah, account for just over 5 percent of Utah’s prison population. As a result of these numerous referrals and arrests, many Native students are dropping out of school. In 2014, 31 percent of Native American students in Utah dropped out of high school, compared to a 15 percent state average. By enforcing harsh disciplinary policies which disproportionately target minority students, these schools are creating what is known as a “school-to-prison pipeline,” where minority students are pushed out of school and into juvenile justice programs.

“A lot of these policies have the best intentions,” said Vanessa Walsh, a researcher at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law Public Policy Clinic. “We have to keep our schools safe. But it’s having consequences that I don’t think anyone anticipated.”

Walsh has met with state officials and representatives to get support for a legislative task force or policy changes.

“It’s hard to get policymakers to take this on and champion this,” she stated. “[But] I have to just keep knocking on their door, sending them an email every couple weeks.”

“Given these special challenges, and the history of what the federal government has done to American Indians, this population probably needs extra help in school — rather than being pushed out of school,” said Emily Chiang, the director of the Public Policy Clinic and an associate professor of law at the University of Utah. “If anything, we should be devoting more resources as a state to making sure these kids stay in school.”

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Severe Punishments for Native American Students in Utah”

  1. Thats happening all over not only in the schools but also at the work place native hospitals that are ran and controlled by nonnatives face the same situations discrimination, separation no promotions, mistreatment nonnatives using the funds to receive free training while the natives have to pay

  2. This is discrimination- deny it if you will… but two white kids doing the same thing wouldn’t have been arrested for such joke of a “crime.” What if it had been bottled water rather than soda? Seriously? How about making them pick up trash after school or something that does some good for everyone including the kids. Shame on the San Juan School District. Pull your heads out of the sand.

  3. I used to be mormon, many years ago in Long Beach, Calif. During the summer the mormon members of the church would take a Native child into their homes “so they could see how the rest of the people lived and learn how to be civil.” Seriously disgusting is the ceremony at the end of the summer when the kids would be getting ready to go back to the rez.

    They would have the Native kid on stage and proceed to tell the story of how they saved these kids from the filthy rez and what their home life & their actual house was like while they patted themselves on the back and told all within earshot how wonderful they were for doing this and saving this words to the effect of “filthy savage” from their life on the rez…basically cultivating their Caucasian blood to make them more acceptable to society. Embarrassing them in front of the whole congregation.

    If there is one thing I can tell ANY & EVERY NATIVE AMERICAN—STAY AWAY FROM ANCESTRY.COM!!! There have a DNA program specifically for NA’S—-STAY AWAY! They “STALK YOU” & I am NOT kidding! I quit the church/CULT at 17 yrs, I am now almost 63 & 4 years ago I moved to a new town and was approached by a woman from the mormon church who had gotten a letter telling her to get me back into the church! This is NOT a joke, just Scientology, they follow you thru life {I had moved to & lived in several diff states since leaving the church.}

    They WILL BAPTIZE SOMEONE ELSE IN YOUR NAME & RE-BAPTIZE ALL YOUR DEAD RELATIVES & MAKE THEM MORMONS!
    There is only one reason for something like this—MONEY.

    Also, mormons claim to be the LOST TRIBE OF ISRAEL & CLAIM TO BE JEWS, NOW THE JEWS THEMSELVES ARE DECLARING A LOT OF INDIAN TRIBES ARE LOST JEWS! They are STEALING OUR HERITAGE AND OUR FAMILIES–STAY AWAY FROM THEM! If you are going to have a DNA test PLEASE INVESTIGATE THE COMPANY & MAKE SURE THEY AREN’T MORMONS!

    My son passed away in 2002 and I recently found a mormon website listing him but can’t get any info if they BAPTIZED HIM AS MORMON AGAINST HIS WILL AFTER DEATH—THE CHURCH will NOT open their books and tell you this! They may have KIDNAPPED HIS SOUL after he passed and I don’t take this lightly but I can’t afford an attorney to investigate. BEWARE MORMONS! They STEAL SOULS.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s