The Forum Investigates the New Handbook Policies

“The behavior of students during vacations and other out-of-school hours is the responsibility of parents.  Nevertheless, a student who engages in serious misconduct away from school — including but not limited to conduct that is illegal or would be illegal if committed by an adult, conduct that endangers the safety or well-being of the student, other persons, or their property, or conduct which brings disgrace to the Latin community — has violated a major School rule, and is subject to suspension, dismissal, and denial of the opportunity to re-enroll for the next or any succeeding year.” However, school-related events that do not occur at school or during school hours are viewed as within reach for disciplinary action. Mr. Graf cited the annual Latin-Parker basketball game at Loyola as an event where students are subject to punishment if they violate a school rule.  Project week would also be another obvious example where the school would be able to intervene if a student violated the handbook rules regarding drugs and alcohol. Mr. Graf wanted to make clear that if he heard that a student was violating school rules NOT on school hours, i.e., at a party on the weekend, the school WOULD NOT be able to subject the student to any disciplinary action.  They would, however, reserve the right to send the student to see Ms. Walsh, the school counselor, if it came to Mr. Graf or Dean Hogan’s knowledge that this student was a “repeat offender.” For example, if a teacher or faculty member were to run into an intoxicated student outside of school at a club or a concert, the student would not have to be reported to DC. However, if the same incident were to occur with the same student multiple times, the teacher or faculty member would most likely report the student to Ms. Walsh.  How various members of the faculty would know it was multiple times, and to whom they should report it was not discussed. However, the school may reserve the right to take disciplinary action against a student for an incident outside of school involving the law if the incident is public and damaging to the school’s image. For example, if a student were involved in a public fight, or, on a more extreme level, if a student was to be arrested for buying or selling drugs. These incidents, which involve the police on a much greater level than moving violations, would perhaps appear in the paper, creating an image of Latin contrary to the one the school aspires to have. Another noticeable trait in drug and alcohol policies is the distinction between punishment for alcohol related incidents and drug related ones. While alcohol offenses follow a one-strike rule where the student is put on probation and given an out-of-school suspension for a first offense and is dismissed from school on a second offense, drug related incidents call for immediate expulsion (Page 8 of handbook).  The school bases this on the notion that alcohol is legal in the United States at the age of 21, whereas recreational drugs such as marijuana are not. While some drugs, such as marijuana, may not be as powerful a substance as other recreational drugs such as cocaine or LSD, the administration still keeps all illegal substances underneath the same umbrella. This umbrella also may include prescription or over-the-counter drugs that are being misused. Unfortunately, some of these new policies have already had to be put into action this year, yet we hope that this explanation will help to further your understanding of these new rules, and exactly how far the administration extends its reach in the lives of students. If you have any questions, please contact Jack Mensik, [email protected] Cordelia Meserow, [email protected] News Editor Dilara Akgunduz contributed to this article ]]>