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
Native American Bank - Native people investing in Native communities
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Report finds lax safety measures at BIA schools
Thursday, April 8, 2004

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has put Indian students at risk by hiring people with violent criminal backgrounds to work at schools, an internal investigation concluded.

An audit by the Department of Interior's inspector general found that the BIA's screening process for education workers was flawed. Employees were hired before their background checks were completed and were allowed to remain on the job even when criminal offenses were discovered, investigators said.

The report acknowledges that only a small percentage of employees are deemed unsuitable to work at the 185 schools and dormitories that make up the BIA system. "However, the BIA's background investigation process allows those few unsuitable individuals to be hired and possibly have contact with Indian children," the audit stated.

Investigators identified three general problems with the BIA's screening process. The BIA hired employees without timely initiation of local law enforcement checks and hired employees before FBI checks were completed, the report stated.

Also, the audit determined, there is "insufficient accountability" within the BIA to ensure that background checks are completed and that unsuitable people are removed promptly.

Investigators cited some specific instances in which the process failed. "We concluded that BIA's background investigation process is not sufficient to prevent Indian children from potentially being in danger," the report stated.

In one example, a living assistant was hired to work at a dormitory in New Mexico without the required local law enforcement check. The assistant remained on the job for 17 months before BIA discovered the person had 26 offenses including battery and endangering the welfare of a minor.

Yet the assistant was allowed to stay on that job for five more months before a final decision to transfer the person was made, the report stated.

In another case, an education aide in New Mexico was hired before an FBI check was completed. When the check was finally completed seven months later, it showed a battery and child endangerment conviction. The employee wasn't removed for seven more months, the report said.

The inspector general completed its draft audit in October 2003 but the final report wasn't made public until this month. A March 5 letter from a regional audit manager said the BIA had until April 9 to respond to some outstanding issues.

In a December 31, 2003, letter, the BIA said it was "committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of the children we service." Woodrow Hopper, who was acting principal deputy assistant secretary at the time, cited "significant improvements" in the screening of applicants and employees at BIA schools.

One change was the establishment of a security office within the Office of Indian Education Programs. The recent reorganization of the BIA also put the Office of Law Enforcement Services in charge of all security and screening issues.

In response to the report, the BIA agreed to stop hiring employees until after the FBI check is completed. But the inspector general said it had no way of ensuring whether this change is being implemented.

The BIA did not agree with a recommendation regarding who initiates local law enforcement checks. The report called for this duty to be taken away from each school and transferred to the security office.

BIA instead suggested to have each school work with the security office, citing the lengthy and costly process. The inspector general said it considers this issue unresolved.

About 48,000 students attend BIA schools throughout the nation.

Get the Report:
Improvements Needed in the Bureau of Indian Affairs Process for Conducting Background Investigations of Indian Education Employees (March 2004)

Relevant Links:
Office of Indian Education Programs - http://www.oiep.bia.edu

Related Stories:
Tribal leaders denounce BIA budget plans as reckless (03/24)
BIA education programs taking $79 million hit (3/23)
Indian educators meet for legislative summit (3/22)
BIA student struggles familiar ground for Anderson (03/18)
Videotape captured teen's death at boarding school (3/1)
Anderson takes message to Indian Country youth (2/18)
Anderson asks for prayers in new job as head of BIA (02/05)
Drinking said rampant at BIA boarding school in Ore. (01/22)
Autopsy: BIA student died of alcohol poisoning (1/16)
Warm Springs teen dies at BIA boarding school (12/12)
Survey finds high-risk behaviors among BIA students (11/13)
Smoking rates among Natives highest in nation (10/10)
Study links childhood experience to alcohol abuse (09/19)
Indian Country tops drug report again (9/17)
Native youth top drug use survey again (09/06)
Native youth targeted in anti-drug ads (5/17)
Native youth heaviest smokers in nation (4/3)
Report: Native youth highest drug users (10/5)
Ad campaign targets youth drug use (9/7)
Drug use high among Native youth (9/1)

Copyright 2000-2004 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:
Native Sun News: Ex-Rapid City police chief admits erasing tape (5/28)
Erik Stegman: Native youth subjected to racism and stereotypes (5/28)
Osage Nation expects to see offers from land buy-back program (5/28)
Spiritual leader of Lipan Apache Tribe back in court over feathers (5/28)
Nebraska ends death penalty in historic and close veto override (5/28)
Tohono O'odham Nation chooses new leader amid casino conflict (5/28)
Poarch Creeks file lawsuit over taxes imposed on gaming facility (5/28)
Connecticut tribes counting up votes on bill for one more casino (5/28)
Native Sun News: EPA hears Native views about uranium mining (5/27)
Renae Yellowhorse: Navajo Nation can't cede power to outsiders (5/27)
Donna Loring: Politicians circle the wagons around Maine tribes (5/27)
David Treuer: Andrew Jackson turned on Cherokee Nation allies (5/27)
NCAI responds to criticism from Rep. Young on land-into-trust (5/27)
Lawsuit challenges constitutionality of Indian Child Welfare Act (5/27)
Hopi Tribe seeks to prevent auction of sacred property in France (5/27)
Indian students face harsh punishment at public schools in Utah (5/27)
Menominee Nation school sees dramatic rise in graduation rate (5/27)
Poarch Creeks planning family-friendly entertainment at project (5/27)
Coquille Tribe names executive at economic development entity (5/27)
Cherokee law students eager for summer work on Indian issues (5/27)
USDA sends $125K to Indian economic development corporation (5/27)
County by Pine Ridge Reservation receives justice service grant (5/27)
Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick to challenge Sen. John McCain in 2016 race (5/27)
Law Article: Indian inmate wins religious rights suit in Wisconsin (5/27)
Alaska Native corporation holds election for five seats on board (5/27)
Blood Tribe combats rise in abuse of extremely dangerous drug (5/27)
First Nations housing program brings just 99 homes to reserves (5/27)
Supreme Court won't hear challenge to Graton Rancheria casino (5/27)
Kialegee Tribal Town given extension to respond in gaming case (5/27)
Quapaw Tribe looks to dispel concerns about casino in Arkansas (5/27)
Pokagon Band faces hurdles in plan to develop casino in Indiana (5/27)
California tribes still divided over efforts to legalize online poker (5/27)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne Tribe tackles school truancy (5/26)
Mark Trahant: Native village secures return of ancestral territory (5/26)
Secretary Jewell leads delegation to Indian school in Oklahoma (5/26)
Updated witness list for SCIA hearing on economic development (5/26)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee schedules meeting and hearing (5/26)
Mary Ann Andreas: Candidates must keep informed about tribes (5/26)
Steve Russell: National sovereignty cannot cloak all evil conduct (5/26)
Gabriel Galanda: The tide is turning against tribal disenrollments (5/26)
Vince Two Eagles: Summertime means powwows and Sundances (5/26)
Boyd Cothran: America moves from Civil War to the Indian Wars (5/26)
Vivian Delgado: Native college graduates mark a rite of passage (5/26)
Blackfeet Nation adds 162 names to Montana veterans memorial (5/26)
Native women compete in first Miss Indigenous Ecuador contest (5/26)
Lower Brule Sioux Tribe asks BIA to inspect financial documents (5/26)
Maine tribes hold rally after withdrawing from state Legislature (5/26)
Chemehuevi Tribe to reopen elementary school on reservation (5/26)
Arguments heard in lawsuit over federal judge's racist e-mails (5/26)
Appropriations bill allows VA hospitals to recommend marijuana (5/26)
Editorial: Navajo Nation leader makes right call on Grand Canyon (5/26)
Opinion: Andrew Jackson led horrifying campaigns against tribes (5/26)
Cayuga Nation Leaders: Tribe hasn't authorized gaming facilities (5/26)
Pair last seen at San Pasqual casino found on nearby reservation (5/26)
Chukchansi Tribe remains in talks with NIGC for casino reopening (5/26)
Pala Band finishes $5.7M casino renovation in just a few months (5/26)
Leader of Sandia Pueblo accused of preventing arrest at casino (5/26)
Tim Giago: Boot camp etched forever into the minds of veterans (5/25)
Native Sun News: Newspaper comes home with 14 media awards (5/25)
Gyasi Ross: Martin Sensmeier lands role in major Hollywood film (5/25)
Andre Cramblit: Let's see some real Indian actors on the screen (5/25)
Steven Newcomb: U.S. perpetuates dominance over our nations (5/25)
Valerie Goodness: Don't ignore indigenous ecological knowledge (5/25)
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.