Just yesterday the Stars and Stripes published an article entitled, "When DODEA investigates its teachers for bullying, parents say they’re left in the dark." I had several friends sending me this article yesterday including both parents and teachers within DoDEA. There has been a fair amount of controversy over the article though as the teachers who sent this article to me have had much more reserved opinions about jumping to blame the teachers from the article than the parents who had sent me this article.
The article mentions that:
Ten parents, including the Balfours, and former school employees described disturbing behavior involving teachers at three DODEA schools in Europe. Their allegations include educators berating and mocking second graders, calling a kindergartner by a racist term and locking a special needs fourth-grader out of the classroom.
This is just one of many scandals DoDEA is involved in, but only one of the few that makes it to the surface. Yet it's difficult to interpret stories like this that target teachers as I've been a teacher and I see just how easily miscommunication can occur due to the disconnect and understanding of the roles and responsibilities of students, teachers, parents, and administrators in a school environment.
At my school in Belgium, there were many parents who had complaints about the school including specific teachers who they believed had wronged their child. I've also seen numerous teachers who have been targeted by our aggressive and irresponsible administrators who blindly believed anything a parent was telling them. There are good parents and there are bad parents. There are good teachers and there are bad teachers. There are good administrators and there are bad administrators. And I do think we need to stop vilifying one group or another as our limited understanding of each other leads us to also lack understanding of the true sources of issues going on in education.
However, I wish I could know all the true details of these stories because they are the first I am hearing about them and I've known many colleagues who had false allegations lodged against them in order to get them fired including false reports of child sexual abuse and sexual harassment of other teachers. My principal had informed me that she was pursuing legal action against me because I allowed my students to record themselves for classroom management purposes. Thank goodness I had an amazing set of parents in my classroom and I didn't have to deal with any crazy ones who might attack me.
I want to believe these parents here, but I've seen all too often the false allegations against teachers. One thing I do know for sure though is that DoDEA is highly lacking in transparency. There is an incredible amount of corruption in the system and the director of DoDEA, Tom Brady, along with all his lackeys continue to hide it. The article continues to distinguish between DoDEA schools from other public schools as students and teachers lack significantly more rights under the DoDEA system compared to other local school districts:
The stories told to Stars and Stripes by DODEA parents and former employees portray a school system mired in inertia and lacking in transparency and accountability. While abusive teachers exist in other systems, public and private, those schools answer to school boards or state departments of education.
But complaints or concerns about DODEA schools are addressed by DODEA itself, leading parents to believe they have few rights and less recourse when dealing with apparent teacher misconduct. Not even base commanders have authority over DODEA on many matters, though they may have some input.
It's been a crazy time where I've had trouble knowing who to trust. However, I know DoDEA as a whole is not currently a trustworthy organization (even if they still have many valuable and honest employees left working under their corrupt leadership). I hope more articles like this exposing DoDEA will continue to be released for the safety and wellbeing of all students and teachers within DoDEA. So far legal action has done little to nothing to remedy the vast degree of educational malpractice that continues to devour DoDEA. So continuing to publicize their corruption and make the public aware of their misdeeds is about the best we can continue to do. Join other educators like current DoDEA educator and author of Autobiography of An American Teacher, D.J. Wright and me as we continue to fight for education, especially when it comes to DoDEA. Lend your voice because we're stronger in numbers!