The Wind River Inter-Tribal Council has voted to take immediate action in terminating administrators and the school board governing St. Stephens Indian School, following the completion of an independent federal investigation by the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), according to a press release.
A BIE report, of which a redacted version can be viewed here, identified widespread wrongdoing by school leadership, including: sexual misconduct and harassment; bullying and a toxic workplace environment; use of drugs and alcohol on school property and at school-related functions; financial irregularities; nepotism; and a lack of supervision by school officials in ensuring employees maintained valid state certifications.
In accordance with BIE recommendations, St. Stephens administrators terminated from their roles include: Frank No Runner, Superintendent; Greg Juneau, K-8 Principal; Matthew Mortimer, St. Stephens High School Principal; and Pattee Bement, Food Services Supervisor. Also immediately relieved of their duties is the entire St. Stephens Indian School Board, comprised of: William C’Hair; John Goggles; Ronnie Oldman; and Eugene Ridge Bear.
“This is truly a sad day, and I regret that we as Tribal leaders had no choice but to ensure a safe and orderly learning environment at St. Stephens Indian School by removing these individuals from the roles in which they had been entrusted,” said Chairman Jordan Dresser of the Northern Arapaho Business Council. “Our children deserve the best possible education, but that hardly seems possible with the kind of misconduct discussed in this report by the Bureau of Indian Education. St. Stephens will now move forward under BIE oversight to ensure our children’s learning and wellbeing is put first.”
“The BIE report speaks for itself,” said Chairman John St. Clair of the Eastern Shoshone Business Council. “It’s also important to note that it’s an administrative investigation only and does not address criminal conduct. That will be considered by the agencies that have jurisdiction. Our action is a precautionary effort aimed at protecting our children and community.”
The BIE investigation was carried out at the request of the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone business councils, and included the gathering of documentary evidence and interviews with current and former St. Stephens staff members, former students, and concerned parents.
Dominic Littleshield was a member of the St. Stephens School Board during the period covered by the BIE investigation, but was not a member at the time of the Wind River Inter-Tribal Council’s vote of removal.