E-mails prompt DODDS to launch investigation of Ramstein school
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Defense Department school officials in Europe have set up a special board to look into how administrators handled several accusations of wrongdoing at Ramstein American Middle School.
Diana Ohman, director of Department of Defense Dependents Schools in Europe, ordered the review after complaints from parents about a series of e-mails that have circulated among teachers and parents.
The messages — some of them sent anonymously — allege school administrators improperly handled accusations of discrimination, assault and standardized testing irregularities.
Harvey Gerry, DODDS-Europe chief of staff, has been gathering information from teachers and parents for the panel, which will include a principal, a representative from the DOD schools headquarters in Washington and a labor relations specialist, Gerry said.
“Their purpose is to look at all of the documentation that has been generated by this, including these anonymous things, and to study each angle of it and try to come up with some recommendations for the director about how we can make sure our community feels confident that their children are going to be well cared for and well educated,” Gerry said.
The panel will meet in Wiesbaden next week but probably will not send its findings to the director for several weeks, Gerry said.
“What we want is a panel of people to say that, ‘Have you investigated this enough, have you answered the questions adequately, and do you truly understand the situation here?’” Gerry said.
The e-mails began circulating around the school in March and quickly became the hot topic at school meetings and in the hallways. Some of the messages focused on how administrators handled standardized testing irregularities and an alleged assault. Administrators for the middle school could not be reached for comment.
In March, school officials threw out 106 test scores after an internal investigation found that a teacher broke the rules. The investigation found that Jack Marlow, an eighth-grade science teacher, gave answers to test questions after his students had completed that portion of the test but before the entire test was finished.
Administrators said there is no evidence that Marlow gave the answers to help students cheat, and Marlow called the incident “an absolute honest mistake.”
Administrators also are looking into allegations that a teacher assaulted another teacher at school in front of students.
How the panel’s finding will be released to the public has not been determined, Gerry said, but “we really do want to follow up with the community and we fully intend to do that. We also want to follow up with the military leadership in the community so that everybody understands as much as we’re allowed to release to them on what has been going on and what we’re doing.”