indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
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:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe continues to battle pipeline in court (3/28)
Stockbridge-Munsee leader delivers tribal address in Wisconsin (3/28)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Peacemaking in the era of Donald Trump (3/28)
Native Sun News Today: Trump purge fails to affect South Dakota (3/28)
Victor Swallow: When the Air Force bomber crashed at Pine Ridge (3/28)
Charles Kader: Courts close their doors to unrecognized groups (3/28)
Whiteclay liquor licenses under review amid outcry in Nebraska (3/28)
Cowlitz Tribe brings Michael Jordan's Steakhouse to new casino (3/28)
Sycuan Band starts work on $226M expansion of gaming facility (3/28)
Seminole Tribe accuses state of breaking gaming compact again (3/28)
Colville Tribes hail 'historic victory' on aboriginal hunting rights (3/27)
Dakota Access confirms pipeline about to go into service with oil (3/27)
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs considers new round of bills (3/27)
Witness list for hearing on diabetes prevention and Native youth (3/27)
Tim Giago: There's a smell of treason in the air in nation's capital (3/27)
Mark Trahant: The fight ahead for the future of Indian health care (3/27)
Bill John Baker: Woman play important roles in Cherokee Nation (3/27)
Brian Lightfoot Brown: One last victory for the Narragansett Tribe (3/27)
Native Sun News Today: Oglala Sioux Tribe questions loss of funds (3/27)
James Giago Davies: Troubled times are coming to Lakota country (3/27)
Sarah Van Gelder: Huge bank divests from Dakota Access Pipeline (3/27)
Cronkite News: Navajo Nation hails decision on aging power plant (3/27)
Tiffany Midge: There's a happy ending for Standing Rock out there (3/27)
Steven Newcomb: Getting to the true meaning of our sovereignty (3/27)
Steve Russell: Losing our status as 'domestic dependent nations' (3/27)
Mona Evans: Creek Nation fails to support Indian Child Welfare Act (3/27)
Oklahoma Democrats hire LaRenda Morgan as first Native liaison (3/27)
Chukchansi Tribe fires back at gaming firm seeking $21M in court (3/27)
Tribes mount another fight after Trump approves another pipeline (3/24)
Native Sun News Today: Navajo elders continue long fight on land (3/24)
Editorial: Just another day of trying to keep up with the Trumps (3/24)
Elizabeth LaPensée: Video games encourage indigenous culture (3/24)
Mary Annette Pember: Native women work with youth offenders (3/24)
Tiffany Midge: Trump continues to conjure hero Andrew Jackson (3/24)
John Kane: Seneca Nation money train coming to end in New York (3/24)
Grand Ronde Tribes secure approval of school mascot agreement (3/24)
Editorial: Federal recognition for tribes in Virginia is long overdue (3/24)
Seneca Nation ends casino payments after sending $1.4B to state (3/24)
Appeals court hears slew of Indian cases amid focus on nominee (3/23)
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.