Hirono, others call for review of JROTC following sexual abuse, misconduct reports
U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has applauded the Government Accountability Office for launching a review of the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps program.
Following disturbing reports of sexual misconduct by instructors, Senator Hirono, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Representatives Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Robert Garcia (D-CA), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Sylvia Garcia (D-TX), and Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) wrote to the Government Accountability Office on May 2, requesting that the agency conduct a comprehensive review into the program’s oversight.
“The more than 500,000 students participating in JROTC programs across the country should be safe and protected in their programs,” said Senator Hirono. “Reports of abuse, mistreatment, and compulsory enrollment are deeply disturbing and demand further investigation.”
In September, Senators Hirono, Warren, Gillibrand, and Blumenthal opened an investigation into the JROTC program’s failure to protect students from sexual misconduct.
A New York Times investigation found that “dozens of schools have made the program mandatory or steered more than 75 percent of students in a single grade into the classes,” raising major questions about whether the Department of Defense and the Education Department are conducting appropriate oversight of JROTC.
These mandatory JROTC enrollments appear to be disproportionately affecting communities of color and already vulnerable students from low-income backgrounds.
The same reporting also found that at least 33 JROTC instructors have been charged in criminal cases involving sexual misconduct. Their analysis of arrest information for three of the country’s largest high school districts found that “the J.R.O.T.C. program has recorded one arrest for every 232 instructor positions… 68 percent higher than the next highest case rate” of teacher-student sexual misconduct.
Across the country, there are numerous cases of JROTC instructors who were criminally charged with sexual misconduct and had been the subject of complaints from students in the past.