August 29th marked the first day of the 2016-2017 Cathedral Prep school year. As in previous years, the entire student body met in the auditorium for a first-day-of-school assembly. This year promises to be different from past years in many ways. The most obvious way is that Prep has a new principal, Mr. Smith. Mr.Smith brings with him many years of administrative experience. On the opening day Mr. Smith announced to the entire school the new rules, regulations, and disciplinary policies in place for students to follow.
One of the most notable changes is the new school schedule. In recent years school used to begin at 8:07 a.m., but now it begins at 8 a.m. School used to end at 2:55 p.m., but it now ends at 3:05 p.m. As a result, the school day is longer. Each class period is now 45 minutes long (up from 43) and there are now three lunches, as opposed to two. These changes have been put in place to make lunches less crowded and run more smoothly. Also, the period of time in between classes has been reduced from four minutes to three minutes, adding time to classes and making the students hustle a little more to get to class on time.
Along with a change in scheduling, new rules have also been set in place. Students are no longer permitted to charge at lunch, and students cannot leave the cafeteria until the lunch period is over, unless they are given a pass. Likewise, students cannot go anywhere in the building during a class period without a teacher-issued pass. Additionally, students must always have their school ID on them when they are at school, and failure to produce their ID when asked will result in disciplinary action.
While some rules change, others stay the same. Old rules that in the past have been looked over in the past are being enforced. The main set of rules getting a “renewal” of sorts is the dress and grooming code. In previous years a small number of students walked around with scruffy faces, untucked shirts, and loose ties without meeting much resistance. Now, it is being strictly enforced that faces be shaven, shirts be tucked in, ties be up, and top buttons be buttoned.
The biggest change of all seems to be the new disciplinary policy. Prep’s handbook was previously vague in its descriptions of punishments, but this is no longer the case. Different offenses and punishments have been grouped into four disciplinary levels. Mr.Smith stated that the new goal of this is to remove “the guesswork of what the discipline would be for violating [specific] infractions.” Level one deals with minor offenses, level two with major offenses, level three with serious offenses, and level four with critical offenses. As one might figure, offenses get worse as one moves up levels. Punishments are different occurring to how many times one has broken the rule in question. Level one hands out demerits and detentions, level two hands out more demerits and more detentions, level three and four hand out even more detentions and demerits while adding on the possibility/likelihood of expulsion.
Many students have moaned and groaned about the new rules, but Mr.Smith assures everyone that the rules are “necessary to maximize the educational climate of the building,” and that “most of the disciplinary infractions were already in the old book.” He and several teachers that make up the Administrative Advisory Council (AAC) spent approximately 20 hours during the summer scanning the handbook and coming up with the revisions to make things “easier for all to understand and follow.”