By Catherine F. ’21
For many Winsor students, the Honor Code is just a statement everyone signs at the beginning of Upper School and is often forgotten in their day-to-day life at Winsor. For members of the Honor Review Board (HRB), however, the Honor Code is the law used to assess different academic transgressions, such as plagiarism, that come before the school’s judicial committee.
Every year, two students are elected by the Upper School to serve on the Honor Review Board, alongside the President of Collect and two faculty members. There is no set schedule for meetings, but the Board convenes whenever a student breaks either the honor code or a major school rule. The student must go before the Honor Review Board to explain their situation and then receive an appropriate punishment as decided by the Honor Review Board. The HRB evaluates each situation on a case-by-case basis, using the Honor Code as its guiding document. The students on the Honor Review Board provide important representation for the student body in Winsor’s “justice system” by ensuring students who have committed an infraction are judged by their peers as well as faculty members.
The Honor Review Board uses the Honor Code to make decisions about when or if a student has broken a rule. Elly Pickette ‘21, the Class VII representative to the Honor Review Board, believes that the student and faculty representatives have equal power in deciding punishments, but ultimately Ms. Pelmas has the final say.
After each meeting of the Honor Review Board, the board’s decisions are announced to the entire Upper School during homeroom. At the same time, the Honor Review Board maintains confidentiality in all their cases, which is important so that each individual maintains their privacy but their offense is public. These announcements are an effort to not only ensure transparency in the rulings but also set a precedent for every student to know what the punishments for breaking the rules could entail. By making these infringements public, the Honor Review Board creates a transparent process that ensures similar misconduct receives similar punishments and there is not any inconsistency.
The Honor Code sets a high bar for student behavior in and outside the classroom. It is an integral part of our school’s rules and values, yet the Honor Review Board feels as if it is getting left behind in students’ daily life. That’s why it has begun to work with Collect to revamp the Honor Code. Their mission is to change the way both students and the members of the Honor Review Board interact with the Honor Code; the goal is to make Winsor’s central principles a larger part of students’ day-to-day life. They want to ensure that each student clearly understands the Honor Code and works to directly apply that code in their daily life at Winsor.