Four U.S. senators are inquiring into the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the U.S Department Education (ED) after a July report from the New York Times revealed patterns of sexual misconduct among Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) instructors, NPR reported.
The four senators are Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.; and Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii.
The report discovered that at least 33 instructors had been criminally charged with sexual misconduct involving high school students over five years and others were accused but not charged with misconduct.
"The JROTC program can provide a significant benefit to students, but it is clear that students have suffered incredible harm because ED and DoD currently lack the necessary oversight to prevent it from becoming a hunting ground," the senators wrote in a letter addressed to Gilbert Cisneros, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, and Dr. Miguel Cardona, the U.S. secretary of education .
The policymakers are inquiring into just how many reports of instructor sexual abuse or harassment allegations the two departments have received and the kind of oversight the departments are giving schools on instructor hiring. The departments have until Oct. 14 to respond to the questions.
"We completely agree that additional oversight is necessary," said Stephanie Miller, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military personnel policy. "We also think that we need to take a hard look at our current background investigation process ... we need to look even beyond our traditional background investigation to see if there's other tools that we need to add to that, such as potentially social media checks."