For the 2011-2012 school year, the demerit system was expanded to allow faculty to give demerits for attitude in addition to the existing disciplinary reasons. We at the UV think that this addition is fair because not all Marlborough girls treat their teachers with respect, but wish that the administration had provided guidelines outlining what behavior is considered having a bad attitude.
Before the introduction of attitude demerits, it was hard for teachers to discipline students who were disrespectful in their classrooms; a teacher’s only line of defense was to send a student out, which will only affect the girl for a few minutes. But if a student gets a demerit, she is more likely to remember that what she did was wrong and refrain from this behavior in the future. We are not asking students to like all of their teachers, but a general politeness in the way we speak to all faculty and staff should go without saying.
We do admit that in real-world situations, a bad attitude can be subjective. Different teachers expect different behavior in their classrooms, and some are more strict than others. Attitude demerits could be seen as unfair and inconsistent in actual situations. One teacher might think that speaking out of turn in class is fine, while another might find it offensive and give out a demerit. There should be specific guidelines for attitude offensives. However, there is a distinct line between making your point and being disrespectful when you speak and interact with teachers, and most students recognize the difference. We think that those who deserve and receive attitude demerits will understand that what they did was wrong.
We applaud the School for introducing attitude demerits, because we think that it is important to be respectful to everyone, especially faculty. We think that it is beneficial for students who disrespect teachers to see repercussions for their actions.