indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Indian Law Online Master Degree - University of Tulsa College of Law
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Review finds background checks lacking at BIA schools
Monday, July 21, 2008
Filed Under: Education | Law

Employees at schools within the Bureau of Indian Affairs system are being hired without going through all of the background checks, according to a recent investigation.

Federal law requires BIA employees who come in contact with Indian children to undergo an FBI fingerprint check and a character check every five years. For schools that are managed directly by tribes, employees must undergo a background check and meet standards that are "no less stringent" than the BIA's.

But a random sampling by the Interior Department's Inspector General found that two percent of employees at schools run by the BIA had no security file and 76 percent had "material" errors in their file. The situation had actually "worsened" since 2004, when the last review was conducted, the OIG said.

"Material errors in the investigations included lack of required FBI fingerprint checks, absence of character background checks, and absence of reinvestigations for employees with over 5 years on the job," the report stated.

Based on the sampling, the OIG concluded that six percent of employees failed to undergo a fingerprint check and five percent failed to undergo a criminal background check. Of those on the job more than five years, 60 percent were not reinvestigated, as required by law.

At schools managed by tribes, the situation was actually worse. More than half of the employees were hired before the FBI fingerprint check concluded.

"Of these employees, 73 percent were later found to have a criminal record," the report said.

At the Santa Fe Indian School, which is managed by the 19 Pueblo tribes in New Mexico, the OIG sampled 30 employee records. All of them were hired without a review of their employment history or their references, and only half of them underwent a fingerprint check.

Of those that did undergo a fingerprint check, 11 percent were hired before the check cleared. Four of them turned out to have criminal records, according to the report, which was made public after an assistant girls basketball coach resigned over alleged sexual contact with a teen player. The BIA has recommended federal charges against the former coach.

The OIG commended the schools for their response to the findings, saying many of them took action after being told of problems. The BIA also agreed to implement all of the report's recommendations, which included a "100 percent" review of employees at schools run directly by tribes.

According to FBI data cited in the report, the FBI initiated 1,658 investigations and made 537 arrests in Indian child sexual abuse matters in fiscal years 2003 through 2006. During the same period, the FBI initiated 134 investigations and made 39 arrests in Indian child physical abuse matters.

"This represented approximately 30 percent of all FBI investigations in Indian Country during that period," the OIG noted.

The Interior Department isn't the only agency that has raised concerns about the safety of Indian children. In 2006, the Department of Health and Human Services cut all Head Start funding to the Navajo Nation after finding out that no background checks were conducted on employees from 2001 to 2005.

"In October 2005, the Head Start program finally ran FBI fingerprint checks for approximately 81 percent of its employees. This check identified that approximately 16 percent of the employees had criminal records. The criminal records included first degree murder, assault, child abuse, driving under the influence, and other violent crimes, making them clearly unsuitable to work with Indian children," the OIG stated.

Get the Report:
Final Audit Report, Bureau of Indian Education Background Investigations (April 2008)

Related Stories:
BIA seeks charges against ex-Indian school coach (5/19)
Former Indian school coach weighs legal action (4/10)
Coaching staff at Santa Fe Indian School resigns (4/8)
Head Start workers fired after background checks (7/11)
'Murderers' working for Navajo Nation Head Start (5/5)
Navajo Nation loses federal Head Start funding (5/4)



Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Author brings Lakota heritage to stewardship (4/27)
Lakota Country Times: Cobell scholarship fund being put to use (4/27)
Steve Russell: Same-sex marriage back before Supreme Court (4/27)
Terese Mailhot: The epidemic of early death on the reservation (4/27)
Jean-Luc Pierite: School makes bad choice with fake headdress (4/27)
Peter d'Errico: Pope fails to address genocide of Native peoples (4/27)
Editorial: States need help dealing with newly recognized tribes (4/27)
Senate panel takes up bill to halt Tohono O'odham Nation casino (4/27)
Small Alturas Rancheria runs casino but can't agree on much else (4/27)
White House to host first-ever Native youth conference on July 9 (4/24)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne Tribe fires casino manager (4/24)
Lakota Country Times: Timothy Standing Soldier passes on at 54 (4/24)
Mark Trahant: Invest in our Native youth for long-term success (4/24)
James Giago Davies: True believerism and comic book solutions (4/24)
Brandon Ecoffey: Oglala Sioux Tribe must act on legal marijuana (4/24)
Ed Rice: Cleveland team comes up with excuse for racist mascot (4/24)
White House Blog: Recognizing tribal Climate Action Champions (4/24)
House subcommittee looks at poor conditions at Indian schools (4/24)
Navajo actress was put in darker makeup for Adam Sandler film (4/24)
Eastern Cherokee group plans lawsuit over tribal council raises (4/24)
Column: Commission takes on truth and reconciliation in Maine (4/24)
Senate votes to confirm Loretta Lynch as next attorney general (4/24)
ICT interview with confirmed NIGC Chairman Jonodev Chaudhuri (4/24)
Dave Palermo: Tribes in California assert right to Internet poker (4/24)
Pokagon Band casino remains a concern for Indiana lawmakers (4/24)
Pojoaque Pueblo places casino manager on administrative leave (4/24)
White Earth Nation promotes tribal members in casino positions (4/24)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux student vies for Miss Indian World (4/23)
Lakota Country Times: Tribal citizens named to education board (4/23)
Ivan Star: Struggling with the warrior heritage in Indian Country (4/23)
Dana Lone Elk: Lakota people still carry on fight of Crazy Horse (4/23)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee passes bill to renew NAHASDA (4/23)
BIA faces fire over latest reforms to federal recognition process (4/23)
Opinion: First Lady brings truth with remarks about Native youth (4/23)
Incoming leader of Navajo Nation stresses importance of youth (4/23)
Native actors storm off set of Adam Sandler film in New Mexico (4/23)
Marijuana seen as new frontier in tribal economic development (4/23)
Senate approves anti-trafficking measure with tribal provisions (4/23)
Interview with Gyasi Ross about spoken word release Isskootsik (4/23)
Blackfeet Nation launches campaign to ban drilling at sacred site (4/23)
Cherokee Nation celebrates births of first calves from bison herd (4/23)
Burns Paiute Tribe investigates fire that destroyed two bulidings (4/23)
Kaibab Paiute Tribe welcomes designation as 1st dark sky nation (4/23)
University of Minnesota sees surge in Native student enrollment (4/23)
Editorial: Minnesota tribes work together to address treaty rights (4/23)
Editorial: Maine governor fails to treat sovereign tribes as equals (4/23)
Brazil to host inaugural World Indigenous Games this September (4/23)
Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation probes woman's death at casino (4/23)
Tohono O'odham Nation vows defense for off-reservation casino (4/23)
Seminole Tribe talks with lawmakers about Class III casino deal (4/23)
Editorial: State needs assurances from Quapaw Tribe on gaming (4/23)
Native Sun News: Tribes take DOI to task over grizzly bear policy (4/22)
Native Sun News: Lakota rodeo legend Howard Hunter passes on (4/22)
Bill John Baker: Cherokee Nation language programs are working (4/22)
White House Blog: Improving the lives of Native American youth (4/22)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.