The Student-Faculty Judiciary Committee is the “disciplinary committee” at Packer Collegiate Institute. The committee is composed of 8 elected student representatives (two from each grade), 2 faculty representatives, and 1 faculty chair who organizes the meetings and makes sure things run smoothly.
When students violate school norms — from anything from being late to school 14 times to cheating on an exam or improperly collaborating on an assignment to lying to a teacher — students are sent before the SFJC. When the SFJC convenes to hear a case, all members arrive to school at 7:30. We review the background information provided to us, and then we call the student in and have the student give us his or her side of the events.
At this point, we see the true purpose of the committee. Although there is inherently some punative aspects to what we do (we are, in fact, the judiciary committee), we really try to focus on making the students’ visit to the SFJC a learning experience. We want the student to reflect on his or her actions. Questions you will often hear come from the students include…
… why do you think the school has a rule against that?
… who did your actions hurt?
… how will you try to prevent similar incidents in the future?
… what have you come away with from this experience?
What I love most about the hearings is watching the student members try to get the person brought before the SFJC to reflect. Students teaching students. There is a genuine feeling among those on the SFJC that we are doing some very important and often unacknowledged behind the scenes work. We are truly the backbone of Packer’s high school. We safeguard our community norms together.
In the 2008/9 year, the SFJC was given a very difficult charge which we took seriously and approached thoughtfully. In conjunction with the administration, we totally reconceptualized and totally rewrote the disciplinary policy for the high school. This process was incredibly time consuming and frustrating, but in the end, we came up with a disciplinary policy that all parties were really happy with. In this policy, we more explicitly built in the “learning” aspect of the SFJC responses.