What’s Up With the Student Handbook Changes?


Jacopo Congiu-Hughes

At the orientation on August 25,  school principal Laura Tobias and vice principals Brett Wilson and Danielle Ambrosia talked to the student body about expectations and rules for the 2022-2023 school year. During the orientation, they mentioned the changes to the Student Handbook but did not elaborate, leaving students to wonder what exactly got changed. 

One major change that was made to the Student Handbook was separating it from the Code of the Conduct. Previously, the Code of Conduct was combined with the Student Handbook. The Student Handbook covered important policies, while the Code of Conduct determined punishments and discipline for students in the district. This change standardizes the Handbook amongst all grade levels. These changes were made because the administration was looking to make the school system more equitable in response to the Equity Audit that occurred a few years ago.

State High Vice Principal, Brett Wilson elaborated on the reasons behind the changes that were made over the summer.  

“We wanted to make sure that it [the Student Handbook] has that restorative justice language in it, making there’s no inequitable language in it,” said Mr. Wilson. Standardizing the Student Handbook allows the equitable language that State High had implemented to be consistent in all schools.  

Unfortunately, these changes have confused students. During the orientation, students heard that the Student Handbook had been standardized throughout all grades. Because it was not clearly communicated that the Handbook was separated from the Code of Conduct,  students were skeptical of the changes. They thought that punishments for  elementary schoolers and high schoolers would be the same. However, Mr. Wilson stressed that that is not the case.

“We couldn’t have the same consequences for a fifth grader as a twelfth grader. So, that’s why we divided the Code of Conduct from the Student Handbook” he explained. Therefore, punishments for a younger student will be different and be handled differently than a punishment for an older student.

Many students have voiced their confusion towards the situation. Ben Garthwaite, a Junior at State High, said “I thought it was dumb that a punishment for a high schooler and a kindergartener was the same. I didn’t know why they did that”. 

Although the changes made in the Student Handbook will greatly increase the standardization in policies across the school district, these changes will not deeply impact a students daily life. 

Mr. Wilson said “These changes won’t really affect your average day much. The rules are still the same for everyone, and no policies have changed, we’re just making sure the language for the rules stays the same”.

Due to the lack of standardization in previous school years, SCASD has made some important changes to the Student Handbook. They separated the Code of Conduct from the Student Handbook. SCASD also updated the Student Handbook to make sure it included equitable language, and was altered this way for all grade levels. The Code of Conduct remained separate for different grades, for evident reasons. 

For more information, look at the Student Handbook page on the SCASD website.