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The unknown consequences of a code of conduct violation

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A student sees his own defeated reflection through his Chromebook screen as he faces rejection from classes or clubs such as Junior Leaders and Voices in Prevention due to a code of conduct violation they received in a past year.

There are a multitude of reasons students may receive code of conduct violations. Whether they have used an illegal substance, cyber bullied another student, or taken part in any illegal activity, the consequences of this infraction could burden them throughout the years following their violation.

When receiving a code violation, a student becomes suspended from their club or sport for 40% of the remaining season. This means the student may not participate in 40% of the remaining meetings, games, or competitions specific to that club or sport. Some students are under the impression that after serving their suspension the code violation is no longer applicable. However, this is not always the case.

“When violating the code of conduct, there are the initial consequences for your sport, club or fine arts activity,”  Mr. McDonald, the athletic director, commented. “Down the road, if a club or activity has a requirement for membership to be code of conduct violation free, then your code would come up again.”

When signing up for some clubs and activities at the high school, students may have to select whether they have received a code of conduct violation. Specific clubs and classes that require students to make this selection include #VHGive, Junior Leaders, National Honors Society, and Voices in Prevention. Depending on the club being applied to, students may receive the opportunity to explain their code violation and how they have grown from it.

#VHGive specifically allows for students to explain their code violation which offers the chance for students to prove how they have changed since their infraction. They can decide to use this space for explaining the situation of the code, how long ago the code was, what they learned or all of the above.

“We are looking for the students to be honest about what happened and to show they have learned from that code violation,” Ms. Tolva, #VHGive advisor, stated. “If a student answers yes to receiving a code [on the application], it is not an automatic denial [into #VHGive].”

On the other hand, Mr. McCaulou, the PE Department supervisor, mentioned that applicants for the Junior Leaders class did not receive the opportunity to explain their code violation, but new applicants will receive that chance in years to come.

Aidan Lindley (10) is code of conduct violation free, but he does have friends, teammates and peers that have received a violation. Because of this, Lindley has strong opinions on the code of conduct and its consequences.

“If a student wants to change, there is no chance for him,” Lindley said. “Let’s say someone got a code their sophomore year and wanted to do something senior year, but were denied because of what they did sophomore year…it’s just not fair at all.”

Lindley explained that despite a few clubs offering students to explain their code, he still believes that a code violation is held against an individual for the duration of their high school career, although he has not encountered this personally.

Despite what students may feel, receiving a code of conduct violation will not entirely restrict a student from participating in extracurricular activities or classes. Ultimately, while students may receive the opportunity to explain their violation, they should be aware of potential long-term impacts.

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The student newspaper of Vernon Hills High School
The unknown consequences of a code of conduct violation