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The Milton Measure

An Inside Look at the DC Process: Behind Closed Doors

by on Thursday, March 9th, 2017

Every morning, we see members of the SGA running games, advertising the can drive, or offering anecdotes. But what power do these ketchup and mustard costume wearing individuals really have? The Self Governing Association, comprised of Head Monitors, Day and Boarding Monitors, and Class Reps, is behind events like Gotcha, but perhaps its biggest job is to represent students in the Disciplinary Process. The Milton Measure interviewed members of the SGA and the administration to get a feel for how the DC process really works and whether the SGA actually has a voice in this process.

As we all know, the DC process starts with an incident that violates Milton’s community values. From there, a conversation ensues between the student and the teacher responsible for academic integrity, or between the student and the appropriate dean for a different offense. A “fact-finding committee,” comprised of several students and teachers, works to talk to the students and community members involved and decides whether the incident is worthy of a “deans,” DC, or nothing at all. “Deans” are less serious offenses and often stem from assembly or class cuts; they do not result in suspension and are never put on a student’s record.

On the other hand, the Disciplinary Committee is made up of a Head Monitor, either a Day Monitor or a Boarding Monitor, the respective Class Rep, either Ms. Bonenfant, Mr. Ruiz, or Mr. Heard, and other faculty as necessary. According to Mr. Ruiz, it is important to “make sure that there are equal voices of students to adults.” The group meets, the student in question presents his point of view, and the advisor of the student shares his or her perspective and describes the student holistically. From here, the committee works towards an agreement on whether the offense is worthy of a DC and what the consequences should be. The recommendation is then forwarded to Mr. Bland.

While the DC process may be stressful, grueling, and often sad, students should realize that the committee takes the process very seriously and dives deep into the infraction as well as the student’s history at Milton. According to Semi Oloko (I), decisions must be unanimous and since all members of the committee must be in agreement on the consequences of a DC, the process can take hours. She adds that “you can see yourself making the same mistakes, to a degree. Naturally, students are more lenient towards lighter punishments because there’s so much more empathy there while faculty can sometime see things as black and white.” However, while students seem to be active participants on the DC committee, Jack Weiler (II), a Class Representative, thinks that the voices of students and adults are “not as valuable as they could be… Punishments mostly come out of the handbook.” Mr. Ruiz agrees that DC’s are often “by the handbook,” but adds that the handbook is revised “every year to make sure the rules still make sense.”

The DC process is certainly well-thought out, and the SGA does make an impact on DC’s, yet the disciplinary process at Milton is not perfect. Students have mixed feelings towards the public announcements of DCs at assemblies. Some say that these announcements are good and help to clear up rumors and warn students of the severity of their actions. However, Rebecca Karlson (II) disagrees with the readings of DCs, saying that it is “mean to publicly humiliate students when they have already been punished and most likely feel terribly about their actions.” Liam Kennedy (II) says that “students should be given lesser punishments if they are honest or admit to the truth on their own.”

Another potential issue with the DC process is suspension. Mr. Ruiz describes that he “[tries] to ask questions around if there is anything else [besides suspension] we can think about doing. A suspension doesn’t always have to be the answer, yet somehow we always land on suspension. We also are a culture where the number of days of suspension is based on how egregious a suspension is.” What does it make a difference whether a student is suspended for two days or 12 days? To colleges and families, a suspension is a suspension regardless of time, so perhaps there should be different levels of punishment in the disciplinary process.

Mr. Ruiz adds that he is interested in “revamping the DC process, or at least exploring it” and says that within the next year, the dean’s office will be working to assemble a committee to work on revising the process. While it might be difficult for students to enact change in the DC process themselves, they do have the power to elect SGA representatives who do. When voting for student representatives, students should ask themselves who can fairly and assertively provide a voice for the student body in DC meetings.

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Posted by on Mar 9 2017. Filed under More News, News, Recent News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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