Over the summer, the Upper School administration at St. Martin’s Episcopal School devised a new discipline system and dress code for the 2020-21 school year.
When asked about the overall goals of the changes, Associate Head of Upper School for Student Affairs Mary Bond said she wanted to improve the program to further the goals of St. Martin’s.
“It’s always good, every several years, to take stock of your program and make sure that it still is as it needs to be to further your philosophy and community building in the Upper School,” Bond said.
During the 2019-2020 school year, the Honor Council had far too frequent meetings. To address this issue, the St. Martin's administration changed what major violations would be considered by the council. Unique cases or ones where the student who had committed the violation wanted another student perspective would go before the council. Bond would address familiar infractions, such as plagiarism and cheating.
The consequences for repeated minor violations, such as tardies or dress code, have a simplified sequence of consequences. Small and frequent acts of misbehavior would merit small punishments, but serious ones would be given harsher consequences.
The dress code underwent changes as well, including ban on shirts with writing or graphics. The new dress code hopes to foster modesty, cleanliness and professionalism.
Bond stressed that the dress code changes are not major, but rather that the administration is making an effort to enforce it more rigorously.
“The dress code hasn’t really changed that much but we have committed to addressing it,” Bond said.
Senior Teddy Fox appreciates the freedom the dress code provides.
“I want the dress code to just be free expression, obviously not vulgar stuff though,” Fox said.
Senior Alexis Jurisich believes that the changes require some adjustment.
“Last year’s [dress code] was easier because I knew what I was doing,” Jurisich said. “I knew what happened since it's been that way since we were freshmen, but now that it’s changed, I don't really know anything.”
Overall, very few students have felt serious effects from the modifications.
“I don’t think anyone even noticed a change besides the dress code,” said Senior Gavin Sparandeo.
Bond agreed that she thinks the majority of students have been receptive to the changes.
“It's just a few students who are more frustrated than anything else, less than a handful, that have said anything,” said Bond. “There might be more I’m unaware of. By and large, it's been a pretty smooth transition.”