your internet resource on facebook on twitter on Google+ on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Native American Bank - Native people investing in Native communities
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:
Supreme Court rejects petitions in four more Indian law cases (10/5)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee weighs seven bills at hearing (10/5)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee schedules business meeting (10/5)
Secretary Jewell heads to Oklahoma for tribal trust settlement (10/5)
IHS reopens comment period for Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe (10/5)
BIA backs extension of Rosebud Sioux Tribe gaming compact (10/5)
Native Sun News: Code Talker medals seen in traveling exhibit (10/5)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe and FEMA cooperate (10/5)
James Giago Davies: Don't let dominant culture dumb us down (10/5)
Vi Waln: Domestic violence comes in many forms on reservation (10/5)
Gyasi Ross: Republicans play games with Native women's rights (10/5)
Rosanna Deerchild: A terrifying reality facing indigenous women (10/5)
Steve Russell: Indians met Christianity at its most violent phase (10/5)
Alex Jacobs: Pope Francis honors symbol of genocide in America (10/5)
Joseph Hamilton: Tribal leaders must talk about disenrollments (10/5)
Tara Houska: Horror film treats Native peoples as relics of past (10/5)
Cow Creek Band employee lost son in deadly shooting in Oregon (10/5)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe fully booked for launch of pot resort (10/5)
Chukchansi Tribe picks leaders and hires gaming commissioners (10/5)
Cowlitz Tribe turned down Donald Trump for gaming partnership (10/5)
Eastern Cherokees see tangible benefits from gaming enterprise (10/5)
Navajo Nation to offer housing for employees of casino in Arizona (10/5)
Poarch Creeks lose ruling over slot machines at Florida racetrack (10/5)
Supreme Court agrees to hear Omaha Reservation boundary case (10/2)
BIA proclaims another 104 acres as reservation of Shakopee Tribe (10/2)
Native Sun News: Court hears case over soil farm near Pine Ridge (10/2)
Clara Caufield: The ups and downs of growing up as a 'half-breed' (10/2)
Steven Newcomb: Doctrine of domination hinders tribal land claim (10/2)
Ian Zabarte: Western Shoshone territory in Nevada is not for sale (10/2)
Sam Campbell: Catholic Church continues to celebrate genocide (10/2)
Maia Szalavitz: Stereotypes about Native Americans and alcohol (10/2)
Dartmouth removes director of Native program after controversy (10/2)
Guilty pleas for shootings of Indian men in Wyoming border town (10/2)
Santa Clara Pueblo seeks payment for use of land for utility lines (10/2)
Chairman of Mashantucket Tribe seeks another term on council (10/2)
Pro and Con: Lytton Band land-into-trust and development plan (10/2)
Chukchansi Tribe heads to vote as casino closure hits one year (10/2)
Spokane Tribe still waiting for answer on off-reservation casino (10/2)
Coquille Tribe awaits next step in bid for off-reservation casino (10/2)
Ione Band of Miwok Indians continues with long quest for casino (10/2)
Cobell scholarship fund now boasts nearly $30M from settlement (10/1)
Changes to Navajo Nation water rights settlement signed into law (10/1)
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.