Many noticeable changes have been made since last year: the new personal devices policy, the dress code, switching from Edline to StudentPlus, even the senior parking (or lack thereof), but a much less obtrusive change has been made.
All of us roll our eyes when a teacher reminds us to tuck in our shirt; it is an annoyance. We do not care for words like “decorum” or “uniformity” because we would much rather that the dress code be minimal or non-existent at all. A number of us use the hanging shirt- tails to cover our waistbands when we have forgotten a belt, but unfortunately, we often get busted for both violations of the dress code.
Practically every day, students come in tardy, or are sent to the dean’s office to shave, or get their phones taken up or are even pulled out of class for being too loud or disruptive. The simple fact is that, as students, we are very busy.
We do not always take the necessary steps to make sure we are perfectly in dress code because we are more concerned with studying for a math test or getting a paper turned in. We do not always have the time in the morning to make sure that our shirts are perfectly tucked in or our phones are off.
The dean’s office is always bustling with crowds of Eagles between periods, clamoring for their phones back or begrudgingly offering them up in exchange or a belt to borrow.
Over the course of a school year most of our little slip ups and chastisements are forgotten, recorded only in the memory of whichever teacher noticed our little infraction, and we do not receive any major long-term consequences, but now a new system, labeled as the Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge point system,
ensures that no infraction goes unnoticed.
As of this year, every student starts each semester with a 100 in the dean’s book, but beware, this number like grades can drop.
“[GDK Points] were developed as a way for all of the administrators and teachers to track a student’s entire body of work across the curriculum, everything from tardiness, dress code violations, honor code violations, testing violations, excessive talking in class, and sleeping in class”
-Tim Clarkson, Dean of Students
Every student’s first infraction will only cost them one point, which is not a cause for concern for most people. However, at the next infraction the penalty becomes two points, then three, then four, until it levels out at five points per similar infraction. The points only accumulate with the same offenses.
For example, being tardy four days in a row will count for one, two, three and four points per respective tardy. However if you happen to be tardy without a belt once, you will only be penalized two points, one for each offense. Do not forget, however that all dress code violations are grouped together as similar offenses.
Needing to shave twice and not wearing socks twice will stack up just as many points as being tardy four times. It is not about the offense as much as it is about the frequency of the violation.
For every ten points lost, you will receive a Saturday service detention, so that means by the fourth time your phone gets taken up or you forget a belt, you will spend
a Saturday here at school instead of the alternative where you are only at school the required five days a week.
All of your violations are easily kept track of on the new StudentPlus portal, which, in addition to being significantly more intricate than Edline, allows teachers to record any and all issues they have with students, and anything they record is sent by the website to the dean.
My objection to this system is that accidents happen and people who fell victim to traffic or a case of the Mondays and either did not shave or wear socks at least four times over the course of a semester will have to give up a precious Saturday through no fault of their own. At the same time I must acknowledge that much of the fat and confusion around St. Thomas’ disciplinary system has been trimmed and cut.
This disciplinary system is not perfect,but it is a step in the right direction.