by Peter Bloch
As the 2015-2016 school year comes to a close, Policy Board is putting the finishing touches on the rules and regulations for the 2016-2017 school year’s handbook.
Despite the fact that these changes don’t take effect until next school year, they’re relevant due to their polarity on the current regulations.
Regina L., the senior Chair of Policy Board’s, said, “We have finalized a revised the Dress Code and a Drug and Alcohol Policy which now incorporates an amnesty policy. We hope that the new amnesty policy will emphasize the school’s commitment to student safety.”
Despite the major controversies about the OES Upper School Dress Code, very few people know what it actually is. Personally, I’ve heard too many aardvarks say things like “What is is?,” “Do we even have a dress code,” and “it isn’t enforced anyway.”
To clarify the school policy currently states that “students will wear appropriate clothing to school and to all school-related events.” The issue is that while it is later defined, faculty can interpret the rules as they see fit and individuals have protested that it creates a subjective environment in which people are to be judged on their dress.
The new dress code is: “Students should wear clothing that lets them participate in all aspects of school and follows health standards (shirts and shoes must be worn at all times).
- Students may not wear clothing with images or messages that promote illegal behavior, violence, or discrimination (racism, sexism, etc.).
- Students may not wear clothing that significantly exposes undergarments or areas normally covered by undergarments.”
If a student or faculty member wishes to report an infraction, they must consult with a Dean of students who will either contact the student directly or hold a disciplinary meeting after multiple instances if necessary.
The following text is the revised regulation for the Drug and Alcohol Policy as it will appear in next year’s student handbook. It is very important that all students follow these rules because infringement could result in a potential suspension or expulsion.
Rule: There will be no possession, use, distribution or display of alcohol, nicotine, or illicit drugs on campus or at off-campus school events.
Prohibitions include alcoholic beverages, alcoholic beverage containers, drug paraphernalia, marijuana, and illicit or dangerous drugs of any kind. Any over-the-counter or prescription drug used for a purpose other than its primary indication will be considered illicit.
If any student comes forward with concern about his or her own alcohol, nicotine, or other drug use, the use will be dealt with as a counseling/health issue, not a disciplinary issue.
Rule violations will be reported to a Dean of Students and the Head of Upper School. If they determine an incident involving alcohol, nicotine, or drugs, has occurred, parents will be notified and the case will most likely be referred to the DC.
The following segment is the new aforementioned Amnesty Policy on substance abuse: “If any student comes forward with concerns about his or her own health while under the influence of alcohol, nicotine, or other drugs, the first incident will be handled as a counseling and health issue in partnership with parents or guardians, not a disciplinary issue.
Repeat offenses, however, will be handled as both disciplinary issues as well as health and counseling issues. The student must comply with school rules regarding alcohol, nicotine, and other drugs while receiving assistance.”
Lastly, Policy Board has insisted that all student leaders for future activities, sports, or any position of power pledge that:
As a student leader, I understand that my leadership:
- Serves the needs of the community
- Has the power to influence my group members and student culture through the example I set
- Reflects OES at all times and places
I commit to respecting everyone by:
- Refraining from using or promoting racist, homophobic, sexist, or other discriminatory behavior and language
- Actively discouraging discriminatory or demeaning language, behavior and humor
Regina concluded by saying, “After a long year, I’m incredibly proud of the work the board has done. It’s safe to say that we — both Student Council members, students, and faculty — are still learning what the role of Policy Board is within the community.
But with members that are hard working, passionate and dedicated, and with students and faculty that are invested in the betterment of our school, I’m confident that the board will continue to evolve as a resource for students and faculty alike to implement policy changes that are best for the Upper School.
In my experience with Policy Board, they have always been responsive and inclusive if there is a particular issue you would like to address or solution you would like to pose for the betterment of the OES community.
A link to the student handbook can be found here. Thank you everyone who has fulfilled their civic duty during the 2015-2016 school year and has contributed to making this community a better place.