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Prep school disciplinary policy re alerting colleges

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Replies to: Prep school disciplinary policy re alerting colleges

  • doschicosdoschicos 21122 replies219 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    "I promise you that the majority of SPS students violate this rule (have tried alcohol or pot) by the time they are seniors. The expectations simply don't mesh with reality - and that creates a dynamic where there is the real world and the pretend world."

    No doubt. I know this is true, along with other boarding schools, but what do you expect school administration to do? There are two paths to take if the current situation isn't working - get stricter (one strike policy) or get more lenient and have less punishment. I would be able to provide arguments why neither would work well.

    Also, I would be wary of any school that either claims zero issues with discipline problems or a school with no reported infractions. To me, it is indicative of looking the other way. I just can't imagine that any admissions committee is that good about enrolling only straight edge kids.
    edited April 2017
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  • psparentpsparent 46 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Yeah, I really don't know the answer. I go back to the great reply by Calimex earlier: "As luck would have it, on our flight back from visiting schools I was seated next to a man who had graduated from a HADES school. He did NOT send this kids to BS precisely because of the strict disciplinary policies in which the stakes are so high for kids being caught pushing boundaries, which is what the adolescent brain is programmed to do.

    He said it could really distort kids' development. That by senior year, kids at BS become extraordinarily good at managing two very distinct selves, one for adult consumption and one for peers. He said it made them absolute masters at keeping secrets and hiding things. (But that it didn't keep them for partying hard). He claimed it made them less likely to go to adults for help, too because it turned adults into the police. The stricter the policies, the more underground the kids' go with their behavior."

    I hope that deans take a hard look at their policies and I think they should distinguish between relatively normal teen behavior (say, sex or heavy petting by seniors and some pot smoking/alcohol away from school) which they ALL KNOW is happening and seriously dangerous, destructive, or harmful behavior that is out of the norm (driving while drunk, assault, statutory rape). I think lumping them together as they have may actually have the consequence of making the seriously bad behavior seem normal.

    I don't know the answers.
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  • doschicosdoschicos 21122 replies219 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    To the schools' credit though I do think they differentiate between normal teen shenanigans and experimentation and the dangerous stuff. One will get you disciplined and another chance at schools other than those like Hotchkiss. The serious stuff will get you expelled and in some cases reported to the police.

    I guess it is up to each family to decide if they can live with the rules and consequences in place and, additionally, be willing to roll the dice a bit. Because one doesn't know what shenanigans their 14 year old will be up to later in their high school years.

    And sometimes you have to worry about the policies that are made and the unintended consequences of them. Example: there are much, much more serious, scary, and intense drugs than marijuana that leave one's system much faster and therefore are easier to hide because they are 1) less likely to show up in drug tests and 2) are less obvious because there is no smell associated with them. I've heard stories of kids partaking in stuff instead of weed for these reasons. Just as easily accessible, too.

    Even if our kids are at home, we still need to worry about them. At least at a boarding school if my kid is drinking (as boneheaded as that would be which teens seem to excel at) at least I didn't worry about drinking and driving.

    There are definitely no easy answers. I sure wouldn't want the job as a BS administrator.

    My kids were no angels. I've never been overly strict and have preferred to maintain an open dialogue and a "you can come to me with anything" open door policy. Maybe if I was stricter, they would have towed the line. Maybe they would have just been more sneaky and I would have had my head in the sand about what really goes on. I'm not naive, though, and know what was going on in my own day and I know there are more dangers out there now then we had access to back then.

    @psparent Thanks again for sharing your story and help creating some important dialogue.
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  • preppedparentpreppedparent 3341 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    ^^^Honors violations like cheating and plagiarism are totally different. One senior at my student's BS, had gotten accepted by Columbia only to be found ripping off his Capstone thesis verbatim from an online source. The school had to notify admissions, and Columbia rescinded its offer. However, another top LAC still took the student despite this egregious act of dishonesty.

    It was difficult for peers however, because some Cum Laude students at the BS including my own daughter had applied to the LAC ED1, and were turned down. It left a sour taste in many mouths, that they would turn down equally bright and talented kids professing their love for the school, and in turn take a student with an egregious honors code violation who was admitted RD.
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  • CaliMexCaliMex 1760 replies34 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I have a friend who graduated from a BS where lying is/was considered a big offense. When he was caught smoking in the woods with a group of kids that included someone who was already on probation, he was asked if he himself was one of the kids smoking but was NOT asked about the others. Years later, he says he still has utmost respect for the school for not putting him in the ethically difficult position of choosing between telling the truth and protecting a friend. He thinks it was a very deliberate and intentional move on the school's part that showed integrity and respect.
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  • doschicosdoschicos 21122 replies219 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I do know at many schools that lying is treated very harshly - up there with the most serious offenses carrying the potential weight of expulsion.
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  • PeriwinklePeriwinkle 3403 replies105 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The last I knew, an open flame in a dorm is grounds for expulsion. If a student is caught smoking in a dorm, it would be grounds for expulsion, no matter what he was smoking.

    No school wants a fire in a dorm.

    And no school wants to face the negative publicity that comes when some of their students are caught drunk or high off campus. It is not "off campus, not our problem." The distinction between on school grounds and off school grounds is something I think you're all importing from the public school (i.e., government school) realm.

    When you choose to send your child to a private school, you are choosing to give up many of the rights you take as a matter of course in public schools. Be clear on this point and expect not to sleep as well while your child is in a private school.

    Driving while drunk, assault, and statutory rape are all criminal matters, and thus beyond the school's jurisdiction. Boarders don't have cars, and day students driving cars are their parents' responsibility, unless they're driving for a school function, which is unlikely. Assault gets you kicked out, and maybe reported to the police, as does statutory rape.

    Every parent must talk with their students about statutory rape. It is not a joking matter, and it depends on the state.
    The schools we have known are very vigilant about nipping relationships beyond a certain range of ages in the bud. Some schools have adjusted their rules on teenaged relationships, but again, read the handbook.

    Colleges are very tough on plagiarism, too. There are many threads on the parents forum on students facing consequences for plagiarism in college.
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  • doschicosdoschicos 21122 replies219 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I agree, @Korab1, and therefore am glad it is typically treated as such.
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  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger 2807 replies154 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    doschicos wrote:
    Yes, his honesty is commendable plus his not ratting on others.

    If the OP's son claimed to smoke alone, when he wasn't, then he lied. He wasn't honest.
    edited April 2017
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  • doschicosdoschicos 21122 replies219 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    Depends on the questions asked. There is lying and there is not answering.

    Were you alone? "No."

    Who was with you? "I'd rather not say". Or name the kid who named him.

    Neither is a lie.
    edited April 2017
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  • preppedparentpreppedparent 3341 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    As a resident of a boarding school, there's no down time. Can we all agree it's like being in a fish bowl where your every move is being watched by someone at any given time? When you send in that tuition check, you're giving up some freedoms no doubt. It heavily reminds me of living on post as an active duty soldier...you can never relax because you are living in a ranked order society all the time. Kids and parents need to keep that in mind when they get that Honor Code and Student Handbook. Go through it together and take it very seriously.
    edited April 2017
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  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger 2807 replies154 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @doschicos

    From the OP:
    For his part, I do not believe he smoked alone but he insisted and insists that he did.
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  • psparentpsparent 46 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    All lies are not the same. 95 % of teenagers - probably 99.5 % of teenagers - lie about something at some time. Making all lying a serious offence basically gives the school unlimited power to discipline a kid for the most trivial reason. It also can force kids to tell on other kids or face expulsion. Thus, judgment is required. To be clear, I don't know that my son was with other people, he insists he wasn't. Personally if he's lying about that I'm okay with it.
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  • psparentpsparent 46 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited April 2017
    I'm pretty sure that if he said he was with others but refused to name them he would be going to our local public school right now. Or, they would drug test all of his friends on "reasonable suspicion." Reiterating - I don't know that he wasn't alone, I suspect it. I'm not asking. May press the matter once the diploma is in hand.
    edited April 2017
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  • Korab1Korab1 334 replies4 threadsRegistered User Member
    When faced with a request to rat out your buddies, you can either choose to lie, or choose not to answer. One has more honor than the other, but they are both honorable in my book.

    Its not like they are going to waterboard you...
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  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger 2807 replies154 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Making all lying a serious offence basically gives the school unlimited power to discipline a kid for the most trivial reason

    Yes, but your kid wasn't lying about something trivial. It was on an issue that could potentially get other students suspended or even expelled. This is a major lie.
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  • psparentpsparent 46 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I wasn't referring so much to the specific circumstance as the absurdity of having a rule that *any* lying is expel-able, given that basically every student lies about something (being on facebook during study hall, etc.). See my first posts about imperfect kids. It gives the dean a LOT of power. If you trust the deans to have judgment about how the apply the rule, then fine, but it can be abused. And, again, I don't know if he lied. If he did, I can totally understand why.
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  • PeriwinklePeriwinkle 3403 replies105 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    They don't expell kids for lying to questions like, "does this pair of pants make me look fat?" A lie to a direct question from the disciplinary committee or head of school in such a matter, however, is a different matter. Refusing to state where you were, or lying about your location, is also extremely serious.

    In context, for the OP's son, if he was a boarder, he had to sign out. There was a record of where he planned to go, his hosts, how long he would be away. Any other boarder involved would also have left a record with the school. Day students would not have.

    So there are questions the school did not need to ask him. The school would only have to follow up on the students the dealer named. Schools do follow up on dealers' contacts.

    Again, read the school's rules carefully. The schools take the rules seriously. It does not matter if you find them unfair, or unjust, or out of touch with teenaged development.

    If it helps, the boarding school alums I know can all name very successful people who were suspended or kicked out of school for misbehavior. However, they can also name suspended or expelled former students who became addicts. It need not be more than a bump in the road, but it can be a sign of deeper problems.
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  • psparentpsparent 46 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I agree with both of your extremes. There is a pretty big grey area in between though, which goes back to whether the deans are applying the rules with appropriate judgment.
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