Drum Corps International appreciates how difficult it can be for a victim of misconduct to come forward with a public complaint, especially against an organization and peers with whom they have worked hard and in whom they have placed trust. We recognize and regret the toll that the complexities of investigation and pursuing appropriate action takes on those seeking to be heard.
DCI takes any complaint of misconduct in the drum corps activity seriously. There is no higher priority than protecting the safety, health and welfare of drum corps members, staff and volunteers taking part in our participating organizations, activities and events.
In August, DCI received a complaint against the Spirit of Atlanta organization for violations of the DCI Code of Conduct by performing members of the organization. The serious nature of this report immediately triggered an independent investigation in accordance with DCI’s ethics and compliance reporting policies and procedures.
A comprehensive review was conducted by an independent investigation firm retained by DCI to focus on Spirit of Atlanta’s response to the misconduct reports.
The independent investigation found that Spirit of Atlanta, among other things:
- Failed to properly investigate or respond to credible complaints of misconduct.
- Failed to articulate, internally and externally, the job duties of persons in authority and those charged with the duty to keep participants safe.
- Failed to properly train performers, staff, volunteers, administration and its board relative to Spirit of Atlanta’s and DCI’s Code of Conduct.
After reviewing the report from the independent investigation firm, and discussing the findings with the Spirit of Atlanta management, the complainant and the complainant’s parents, the DCI Board of Directors adopted the findings and recommendations of the report in full and placed the Spirit of Atlanta organization on probation for a period of 24 months. The terms of the probation require, among other things, that Spirit of Atlanta:
- Demonstrate that it can comply with the DCI Code of Conduct in all areas of its operation.
- Engage an independent third-party consultant to review Spirit of Atlanta’s organizational and training processes, clarify its accountability structure, and create and implement policies and procedures that ensure Spirit of Atlanta’s code of conduct and other policies align with or exceed the requirements of the DCI Code of Conduct.
- Create a senior leadership position whose principal focus is to ensure that staff, volunteers and performers are provided with a positive working environment and have appropriate training and resources to ensure the health and welfare of all involved.
Spirit of Atlanta has accepted the terms of the probation and stated their commitment to compliance. DCI’s Board of Directors and management will be closely monitoring Spirit of Atlanta’s compliance with the probationary terms.
In the past year, Drum Corps International has substantially revised its Code of Conduct, policies, procedures and processes to assure the good health, welfare and safety of all persons that participate in our activity. In close partnership with its member organizations, DCI will continue to foster a safe, rewarding, positive and educationally appropriate environment for all.
To support these efforts, additional comprehensive resources are currently in development and will be announced in the coming months. DCI will continue to take any complaints of misconduct seriously and encourages anyone with knowledge of such misconduct to report it.