Over the past couple of weeks, all students, faculty, and staff members signed the ESD Code of Conduct. Some Eagles signed during special chapel services, while others signed in their classrooms or the libraries. Regardless of location, each individual pledged, “On my honor, I promise that I will not lie, steal, or cheat.”
ESD’s Code of Conduct has a storied history that began in October 1977, when a special chapel service was held to initiate an Honor Code. In 1987, ESD’s peer-elected honor council was formed to provide confidential, fair, and just hearings in the cases of its peers and then, if necessary, to determine a consequence in accordance with school policy.
One of the Honor Council’s guiding principles is to “hate the sin and love the sinner.” This proverb appears in The Honor Council Handbook as a reminder of the way we do life together at ESD. We show one another grace and opportunities to make up for wrongdoings and embrace the fact that everyone makes mistakes.
“For an honor code to work, the students have to own it. The Honor Council is effective because it’s not just a group of adults enforcing rules from above; it is students taking care of things,” said Jeffrey Laba, retired physics teacher and Assistant Head of Upper School who provided faculty support on the council’s formation. “Ultimately, education must include lessons in honor, integrity, and how to handle difficult situations. By giving students this responsibility, we are acknowledging that they are trustworthy and capable.”
In the coming weeks, the Honor Council, alongside the newly formed Discipline Council, will plan and install this year’s signature sheets to display on the Code of Conduct Signature Wall in the Swann Atrium. This presentation mirrors those found on prestigious college and university campuses worldwide and serves as a visual reminder of how we interact as a community.
“Last year's Honor Council used the fall semester to accurately plan the first installation of the Code of Conduct Code Signatures Wall,” said Honor Council Sponsor and Upper School Librarian Mary Jo Lyons. “Because of the member’s thoughtful work, the installation this year will move faster, and we plan to complete the installation by early October.”