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Wyola principal arrested on child endangerment charges amidst school shutdown

Wyola Parent Sign
Posted at 2:24 PM, Oct 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-16 16:45:23-04

BILLINGS — Kenneth Deputee, the Wyola School principal, has been arrested and faces numerous charges in the midst of a weeklong school shutdown.

A Crow Tribal prosecutor confirmed Monday that Deputee was arrested over the weekend by Bureau Of Indian Affairs officers.

Deputee was scheduled to appear in Crow Tribal Court at 1 p.m. Monday on 87 criminal counts of child endangerment, the prosecutor said.

The circumstances of the charges have not yet been released.

The arrest follows a turbulent period in the small town on the Crow Reservation that began in early October when conflict erupted between parents and school officials.

Tensions in Wyola School boils over; Native Week activities cancelled

Parents claimed that teachers and administrators had engaged in abusive conduct toward students.

School activities were canceled during the first week in October, and classes have been canceled since October 8 without explanation from school officials.

State Superintendent Elsie Arntzen said last week that the issues are up to the Wyola School trustees, not the State Office of Public Instruction.
"They are governed by a local board, and we would like to honor that," Arntzen said. "I want to make sure that the board is the one that makes the determination, not the state."

She said she has heard rumors and tried to get information from the school district, but it has not received a response

"We have reached to the federal law enforcement authorities, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the sheriff there in Big Horn County, county superintendent," Arntzen said. "Our legal has reached out to Wyola's legal and has tried to have some communication with them."

We will update you as we get more information.