Making Progress on The Honor Code

In April I wrote with an update about the Honor Code discussions we’ve been having at school. Those conversations have been ongoing, and have evolved in the past weeks. Students have made some interesting discoveries through these chats: there is a difference, they say, between a code of values and a set of rules, and they have more issues with some of The Academy’s rules than with its values. Some have voiced that punishments at The Academy are too slight to encourage anyone from changing; others feel that Academy adults overuse punishments to the point where they lose meaning. Some question how much the student body has even bought into the Honor Code itself.

After our last discussion at the end of April, one student approached Mrs. BZ and me about leading her own discussion about rules, breaking rules, and consequences at The Academy. The goal was to move beyond adult-led discussions and to get peer-based input from students. So far, two of these discussions have occurred.

I write this article not simply as an update, but to point out how remarkable this process has already been. We have taken three assembly-length periods to have these discussions, and by doing so have let students know that the Honor Code and the enduring values of The Academy remain important to the adults. We have also had frank and open discussions because we value student opinion on these matters. And now, students themselves are beginning to take on the responsibility for continuing these conversations, which shows me that it is important to (at least some of) them.

Outside of the precepts of The Honor Code, The Academy continues to value students, as individuals and as agents in their own educations and in their lives. I am proud of how your children are receiving this project, and prouder still that they’re beginning to make it their own.