Sign in to follow this  
seen-it-all

How Far Is Too Far?

Recommended Posts

This might seem crazy, it might not, given the recent circumstances, but it crossed my mind and I'm going to throw it out there to see what people think.

There's been much talk (and deservedly so) about sexual harassment in drum corps dealing with administrators/instructors, whether that harassment occurs within their own ranks (directors and their subordinates) or crossing the line towards the actual performers in the corps. The need for more stringent guidelines when it comes to hiring practices, as well as expected professional behavior on the job, has been made obvious and is long overdue. What do the members and prospective members (or their parents) deserve to know about these people before making their decision to join or audition? These are all necessary conversations to be had and I'm glad we're having them.

But what about sexual harassment within the "rank and file" corps membership itself? Certainly, if it comes as little surprise that sexual harassment has been going on virtually unchecked between and among staff members, or between staff and performers through the years, would it surprise anyone to imagine that the same hasn't been happening between and among the performers as well? Would it surprise anyone to imagine that the problem may actually be worse? Thankfully, one of the positives to come from all these recent events has been the mention of creating hotlines for people to call if they are the victims of such incidents, no matter who the person is doing the harassing.

But what of that expectation of what people deserve to know before getting involved with a specific drum corps to begin with? We all know that most (if not all) corps require background checks for their employees which hopefully (but not always) weed out those with "checkered pasts" who should not be around young people. Some have even requested that this information should be posted online for people to see so they can have a better idea of what they're getting into. A step too far? Perhaps. But shouldn't people be made aware if an administrator or instructor has a prior criminal record? How far should we go with this? Should we also require psychological evaluations for all admin/staff? And should that information be made available as well?

And to the point of this particular thread, what about the performers in the corps itself? Is any consideration being given to the thought that someone with a "checkered past" (whether they have an actual criminal record or not) could possibly audition for and become a member of any drum corps they wish and wind up marching right alongside our son or daughter? Do we then have the right to know those things beforehand as well? Should background checks and/or psychological evaluations also be part of the audition process so those people can be weeded out? Another step too far? Again, perhaps.

This has been on my mind lately because I can recall in my marching days (long ago) discovering that someone in my own section not only had a criminal record but had actually spent a brief time incarcerated for their crime which revolved around some pretty extreme emotional problems leading to violence. Thankfully, we never saw any real hint of such behavior during the tour itself. But apparently, the director and the staff knew about it beforehand and decided to let this person march anyway. I have to be honest, if I knew that I'd be marching next to someone who did the things this person did, it would have made me extremely uncomfortable, to say the least. As I said, thankfully, that behavior never manifested itself (and to my knowledge has never since manifested itself) and this person wound up becoming a friend. A friend who made some really stupid mistakes when he was younger. In a way, I'm glad we weren't told about it. But maybe I'd be singing a different tune had something bad happened. This is definitely NOT a black and white issue (for me, anyway).

I can also recall being an instructor later on and being told a laundry list of issues related to kids in the corps, ranging from severe emotional problems (very common!) to actual prior borderline (if not unprosecuted) criminal acts. Some of which involved violence or "inappropriate sexual behavior" leading to expulsion from schools, none of which was ever made aware to any of the other performers or their parents. Should it have been? What if something had happened? Is what I'm talking about anywhere close to being in the same realm of what we're currently dealing with today, in light of the current social climate? Where does individual privacy end and the safety of others begin? How far is too far? I really don't have an answer for that but I'm interested in what others have to say about it.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting.  Once upon a time, some junior drum corps programs were created purposely to serve troubled youth.  Whether just generally "keeping kids off the streets", or a corps run by a reform school, corps like this made it their mission to give kids a "second chance". 

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Something that DCI has been missing by concentrating on staff misdeeds. My DoD training says what is too far is a personal thing. Iow what is too far for one is a good laugh to another. We are trained that is we are offended to speak up and say no or get someone to say it for you. Lot more involved so will stop there. But really feel members NEED training and guidance to handle this. That goes for harassment from staff or members. Also harassment can be any gender to any gender

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As primarily a youth/young adult activity, we rarely talk about how sexual assault or harassment and in some cases violence affects the marching members or what the members unique needs are when it comes to preventing sexual assault or sexual harassment from other members and supporting and caring for survivors of one or the other who are marching members.  

I do know that the exposure to sexual assault or harassment as victims, is often associated with long-term physical, psychological, and emotional harm. There is a lot of studies that have been done regarding both sexual assualt and harassment to and/or by males and females. Drum Corps is essentially a microcosm of our society today as mush as it was 50 years ago. Both the heterosexual and LGBTQ membership probably all been exposed to these behaviors at one time or another.

I'm certainly no subject-matter or domain expert.

Do we have any experts in child psychology who can elaborate on this subject? 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, cixelsyd said:

Interesting.  Once upon a time, some junior drum corps programs were created purposely to serve troubled youth.  Whether just generally "keeping kids off the streets", or a corps run by a reform school, corps like this made it their mission to give kids a "second chance". 

I am flummoxed why the mods would remove my "thank you" post this morning to this comment when I was affirming what cixelsyd said. 

Such censorship I see as a form of disrespect as the mods don't know the personal histories of each poster, who might have worked with such corps for the betterment of others or which poster(s) might have grown through such participation as a mm and been able to turn one's life around.  Seems like political correctness in the overkill. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 This is an interesting topic. I suppose in a general sense, the expectations on behaviors becomes much more demanding when the person is an adult and in a supervisory capacity. There is the inherent power ( and with it the heavy responsibility ) that acrues to that adult when that supervisory adult is in charge of the young, be they male or female.

 Even the legal system is sometimes a bit more forgiving in its penalties when its the young ( say 16,17) that commits the crime, than when its an older adult. Immaturity and irresponsibility that results in criminal behaviors are obviously not acceptable at any age. But with increased age, all societies have the expectations that as people get older they are expected to get wiser, and thus become less emotional and more responsible. Clearly, this does always work this way, but there is the expectation that this is how it should work.

 DCI could make it easier on everybody if they simply had a policy that no Corps be allowed to hire a person on its staff that has had a sexual misconduct conviction. This policy, for example, right off the bat would eliminate any Parents having to be explained a potentially risky hire by any Corps in DCI. Parents can be assured of the implementation of maximum safety precautions, and would not have to concern themselves that Corps might have hired a risk hire in the sex misconduct realm they were not aware of, and never told. It eliminates bad publicity in the press such irresponsible hires generates too.

 As for marchers in Corps with dubious characters, so far this has not been a major problem in DCI Drum Corps. Certainly not at the level of adult misconduct toward marchers. Yes, marchers have been known to cross the line and act inappropriately. Marchers have been wisked away and sent home by supervisory adults and when they have been known to have lied...... on their birthdates. Marchers sent home when they have missed a practice, and so forth. Marchers have been sent home for hundreds of non criminal behaviors. With no " second chances " in most cases either. The Scholastic Marching Band community has its bad behavior kids But its small in numbers compared to the general youth population.. By and large, the kids that do Marching Band tend  not to be risks to others in line beside them. Sure, we all have known kids in Corps that we thought were an emotional power keg. But this is no different really than in any other known setting where we find large numbers of the young. If anything, kids doing Band are safer there among others like themselves than most other venues outside of Band. Most kids today are probably far more safer around marchers their age, than at any school, or at any rock concert, or at any gathering of the young their age. The thousands of marchers in DCI, on the whole, are not at major risk from other marchers their similar age while doing their Drum Corps. DCI is about the business at the moment of addressing a much more concenring and risk behaviors problem, ie the problem of supervisory adults in the activity with repetitive previous bad behaviors towards the young. Not the marchers being a major risk to other similarly aged marchers. Lets not conflate the two.

Edited by BRASSO

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

many corps have policies that address issues within the ranks as well now

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, JimF-LowBari said:

Something that DCI has been missing by concentrating on staff misdeeds. My DoD training says what is too far is a personal thing. Iow what is too far for one is a good laugh to another. We are trained that is we are offended to speak up and say no or get someone to say it for you. Lot more involved so will stop there. But really feel members NEED training and guidance to handle this. That goes for harassment from staff or members. Also harassment can be any gender to any gender

Almost every harassment policy I've seen has multiple goals, one of which is to empower their students to speak up while, at the same time, providing a safe avenue under which a member can report anonymously without fear of reprisal from staff.  Many corps are now adopting a policy that reports are directed to non-executives (Board members or at-large advisory members) in order to avoid any conflict of interest.

Member are, and have been, getting training on this (call your favorite corps and ask for a copy of their policy, then check the date of the document.  I think you'll be surprised at for how long "member-training" has been a focus of harassment training in drum corps.  There are exceptions to be sure.

You aren't incorrect in your assessment that DCI has been missing the boat, but that, too, was a proactive decision made by the member corps in favor of each corps developing robust and enforceable policies.  Seems that is now changing (or maybe not, according to some who have read the new policy and call it "toothless").

  • Thanks 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, BRASSO said:

 

 DCI could make it easier on everybody if they simply had a policy that no Corps be allowed to hire a person on its staff that has had a sexual misconduct conviction. This policy, for example, right off the bat would eliminate any Parents having to be explained a potentially risky hire by any Corps in DCI.

However, in the case of Moody, he has no conviction on his record and would have, and I am thinking probably did, pass any vetting out of his legal record that might be mandated by the state of Texas.

Edited by MikeD
Typo
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going to be really sorry I posted in this thread but I will keep it brief to my decades of experience on this subject.

YES, there have been issues of members to some degree. 1st let's remember ( depending on ages ) corps are much older in WC than any years of the past so issues from year to year become different. Younger corps all seem to have a much different set of rules. Now with that said, we have to remember at these young ages some young people struggle with many issues and often come with tons of baggage merely because they are developing in all areas and this includes relationships and what is proper or acceptable. Also, remember for many if not most this is also a 1st experience expected to act like adults ( with a distant supervision of course ) and expected to start growing up. All this comes with growing pains.

Now with all that said, Kids today are much smarter, much more savvy, much more educated to the things many of us would never have been exposed to when we were young, much more available to them, many more pressures. Does this make it different for young people today? YOU BET IT DOES. Have MMs crossed lines in this new time for them? sure, BUT have some known exactly what they were doing? yes, Have some directly and deliberately even gone for staff too? You bet many have. I have seen a lot of this in winter programs especially. Should the older adult know better? of course. Again, which has been discussed a lot is the young new staff and a MM almost the same age.

I think I can say for most places, every person involved is well aware of all I have said here and keep a watchful eye and those who spend time on tour have been available for a MM having this as well as other issues. When you spend a day in and day out it is very easy to see a person struggling with almost every issue. It affects everything and often everybody around them.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.