Indigenous students are more likely to face harsh discipline and lower academic outcomes than their non-indigenous peers in Humboldt County, according to a recent report from the Northern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. In particular, Native American students are nearly five times more likely to be suspended than all California students, the study shows, and experience chronic absenteeism at nearly double the rate of their non-Native peers.

The vast majority of all students in Humboldt County also attend schools that lack professional health staff, even as the coronavirus pandemic continues across the country. The report found that nearly 90% of all districts in Humboldt County do not have a school nurse, and there were no full-time social workers in any district and no psychologists in the majority of districts.

“Indigenous parents and students in Humboldt County live the reality of this report’s findings daily,” said Rain Marshall, indigenous education advocate at the Northern California Indian Development Council. “It’s time for school districts to come together with local tribes, Indigenous-led organizations, parents, and community leaders across Humboldt County to address the crisis of under-education, de facto exclusion, and the failure to invest in the tools and resources needed for indigenous students to achieve their true potential.”