Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the State of Hawai‘i ruled that it is a constitutional right to have access to Hawaiian language immersion programs. This was in a ruling for the lawsuit Clarabal v. Department of Education of the State of Hawai‘i, filed by Lana‘i resident Chelsea-Marie Clarabal. Ms. Clarabal sought to require the DOE to provide access to Hawaiian language immersion programs on Lana‘i. There is currently no such program on the island.
Article X, section 4 of the Hawai‘i State Constitution requires the State to provide a Hawaiian education program for the ” preservation and perpetuation of Hawaiian culture.”
The Supreme Court concluded that “providing reasonable access to a Hawaiian immersion program is an essential component of any Hawaiian education program reasonably calculated to revive and preserve ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i, and is thus required by [the Hawai‘i State Constitution].”