Honor Council Re-evaluates Student Role on Committee

Cameron Cozzi

In the past, Honor Council has been somewhat of a mystery to many students, leaving questions about what this group does and the true role of students on this council unanswered. And, the community’s confusion about the effectiveness of this group has often been aided by the criticism by some of its past members. So, this year, the Honor Council has decided to take a break from its hearings in order to spend time reevaluating the role that their group plays in the Latin community.

Mr. Tebbens, the faculty member in charge of Honor Council for this semester, explained that although the group has not been holding hearings like those in past years, the council has still been meeting once per cycle. Mr. Tebbens explained that the group “is taking a step back in order to strengthen and fine-tune the [disciplinary] process,” stating that their recent meetings have been filled with “extremely thoughtful conversation about discipline and its affect on our community.” Right now, the group is looking towards reconsidering the way that they approach the disciplinary process — hoping to more clearly outline the two aspects of Honor Council’s process: the educational takeaway as well as the actual disciplinary action. In order to do this, they have been collaborating on a new statement of values for the Honor Council — which they hope to share with the student body in May — that will join together the council’s aims and the school’s mission.

Mr. Tebbens explained that this reconsideration of the disciplinary process has come in part because of the fact that, in the past, student members of the Honor Council have found it hard to be the ones handing out punishments to their classmates and friends, ultimately preferring this aspect of the disciplinary process to be in the hands of Latin’s administration. Rather, Mr. Tebbens explained that the student members of the Honor Council hope to be viewed as peers, rather than superiors, and to make the process more educational for the student who committed the infraction. In order to do this, the student members of the Honor Council are looking to fill the time that they have with the student who committed the infraction with thoughtful conversation, thus building a peer relationship that will aid in both understanding and guiding this student.

So, how does the Honor Council plan to implement their new strategies when dealing with an infraction? Mr. Tebbens explained that, in the future, the Honor Council’s work will likely not be done in the same “hearing” format as in the past. And, though they have not yet confirmed what the new format will look like, the members of the Honor Council are considering making the it a two part process — with one part being a learning-oriented conversational meeting with the student members of the Honor Council and the other being a discipline-oriented conversation with Latin’s administration. Additionally, Mr. Tebbens noted that the Honor Council hopes to take more student feedback in the future in order to make the group more accessible and open to the Latin community.