Discipline Committee: Wheaton reinforces the purpose of DC

Discipline Committee: Wheaton reinforces the purpose of DC

When I heard about this idea of elected/selected group updates, I was really excited.  I think that most of the student body isn’t aware of how DC operates on a day to day basis.  But as I started to write I came up against the trouble that much of what we do is confidential.  Nevertheless I’ll try to give some sense of what DC’s been doing with its time and our plans for the future.

DC had its first meeting and hit the ground running.  We have four new representatives this year, as well as two new teachers, a new chairman, and a new Dean advising.  This year’s committee has a variety of fresh blood, a lovely contingent of returners, excellent senior leadership, and forms a very committed group.

The first order of business was to remind ourselves of the serious work we do, and the second was to ensure future snack availability.  We discussed how DC proceedings can be most effectively reported to the student body and how we can make information about discipline available without compromising privacy.  Our charter says of reporting:

“a. After the Committee has made its recommendations and these recommendations are either accepted or modified by the Administration, the Dean of Students will prepare a statement of consequences for the DC members to announce in class meetings.

  1. Every effort will be made to protect the privacy of the individual(s) involved. No name, grade, or gender designation will be used. The content of the violation will be reported as a means to educate the student body about community values and standards.”

So how we can accomplish that education while still respecting the privacy of the people involved is a question that DC has been pondering and will continue to ponder.

Last spring, prior to her departure, Dean Cummins made some structural changes to the DC charter to help it accurately reflect the way we conduct proceedings.  While she didn’t make any content changes, it was very necessary house cleaning, and a lovely parting gift.

It’s our plan to reach out to 9th graders at some point in the near future and talk about what DC is and what it does, and to help give a sense for how the discipline process works.

DC has, in my experience, brought together groups of really thoughtful people who try to do right.  That’s the job.  But DC often operates below the radar, partially out of necessity, and partially just out of habit.  And I’m hopeful that these updates will be an opportunity for people to get to know a group that does valuable work in comparative anonymity.

NOTE:  This is the first in a series of pieces by Elected/Selected Groups.  Each Monday, a vision or opinion will be shared from either Upper School Council, Discipline Committee, Peer Helpers, or Class Leadership.