Honor Council picks student panel
After six years of development, the Honor Council will be established this year. The Honor Council will be a board of students who act as judges in cases where fellow students break the honor code. According to guidance counselor Larry Hensley, it is “designed to almost replicate the adult review board for certain disciplinary procedures such as stealing, cheating, and lying.”
From the beginning, Dean of Students Thomas Vierheller was involved. Then guidance counselor Larry Hensley volunteered to be the moderator at the beginning of last year’s school year.
“Those peers would interview them, do a preliminary investigation, and then come up with a recommendation to the Dean of Students and to the Principal as to what outcome or consequence that child should receive,” Hensley said.
On Sept. 19, Hensley held a meeting in the library for 30 selected Honor Council members. Of the 30 members, only five to six randomly selected members will evaluate each individual case.
“The moderator and administration looks at the pool of students and selects the most qualified. We are looking across all domains of student life – academics, discipline record, commitment to JC, and character,” Hensley said.
According to Hensley, the Honor Council is a “spectrum of students.” “You want to have all types of perspectives and diversity on the Honor Council. Select anyone and everyone,” Hensley said.
Freshmen were not invited, since they are still adjusting to a new environment.
“Students in the future can express an interest in the Honor Council. A formal application process will be created over the next few weeks,” Hensley said.
“It really evens the playing field for students, because they are being judged by their peers who, for the most part, understand their motives and the temptation to cheat,” member sophomore Billy Jump said.
“Once it gains awareness, it could influence the school mechanics. But I have honestly never heard of it before,” non-member junior Daniel Hentschel said.
Since some situations that will be brought to the Honor Council can be personal, the students will be trained in confidentiality. If they break the honor code, they will be removed immediately. Therefore, intensive training will take place along with mock trials and study cases during a Saturday in November.
Once the Honor Council officially begins, Vierheller cannot be involved since the Honor Council will be sending their recommendation to him. Therefore, Hensley will become the sole moderator of the Honor Council.
“[The Honor Council] raises the elevation of expectations on the other students because their own peers in the school system [would be] almost the supporting team of the rules and regulations which need to be followed,” Hensley said. “My hope is we do all this and we never use it.”
Sydney Setree is a Managing Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com