Tribal flags at the Pierre Indian Learning Center in Pierre, South Dakota. Photo: Theanne Herrmann / U.S. Army National Guard
Education | Law | National

Lawsuit seeks damages for death of girl at Bureau of Indian Education school

The grandfather of a 14-year-old girl who died at a Bureau of Indian Education boarding school in South Dakota has filed a lawsuit against the federal government.

The lawsuit accuses the Pierre Indian Learning Center of negligence in connection with the girls' death by suicide in October 2015. Emerson Little Elk, who is a citizen of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, says staff failed to provide adequate care and services to his granddaughter, who had only been at the school for two months before she passed away.

"Following J.L.E.'s death, PILC's superintendent and administrator began researching how to recognize signs and symptoms of suicide," the complaint, a copy of which was posted by The Sioux Falls Argus Leader, reads.

The Pierre Indian Learning Center hosts about 250 first through eighth grade students ever year, according to its website. Most come from the Great Plains states of South Dakota, North Dakota and Nebraska.

Read More on the Story:
Family sues Indian boarding school in Pierre for wrongful death (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader October 11, 2017)
Family of late student at Pierre Indian Learning Center sues feds over girl’s 2015 death (The Pierre Capital Journal October 13, 2017)