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News | April 22, 2024

Press Release: Review of DoD Education Activity's Efforts to Report and Respond to Discriminatory Harassment at Schools (Report No. DODIG-2024-077)

Inspector General Robert P. Storch announced today that the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General released its “Review of the DoD Education Activity’s (DoDEA) Efforts to Report and Respond to Discriminatory Conduct at Schools.”

The DoD OIG review found that DoDEA records did not consistently identify that a complaint related to discriminatory conduct.  Additionally, DoDEA’s policy does not require all received complaints of discriminatory conduct to be reported.  Policy gaps exist in the review of reports relating to, or potentially relating to, discriminatory conduct. Additionally, DoDEA officials are not provided mandatory training to assist in the identification of discriminatory conduct and current policies do not require tracking of informally resolved complaints made to school administrators.

As a result of these policy gaps and inconsistent training, the DoD OIG determined that incidents of discriminatory conduct are likely underreported. Underreporting discriminatory conduct hampers DoDEA’s ability to reliably complete a required annual trend analysis, which could be used to identify areas of improvement related to discriminatory conduct and harassment and to improve student experiences at the DoDEA facilities. The gaps also hinder the DoDEA’s ability to identify the extent of discriminatory conduct in its schools.

“This report highlights the need for DoDEA to take additional action to better track and review discrimination and harassment affecting students,” said IG Storch. “Discriminatory behavior undermines the values of fairness, equality, and respect. When discrimination is underreported, it can perpetuate harmful practices, erode trust, and create a hostile environment.”

The DoD OIG made six recommendations to the DoDEA Director to develop and implement policy related to the reporting, tracking, and oversight of discriminatory conduct incidents. We also recommended that they develop and implement a policy that requires the recording and tracking of all informally resolved complaints of hostile environments and discriminatory conduct in a standardized format. The DoD OIG will continue to monitor the DoDEA’s implementation of the recommendations in this report.