BK: Now More than Ever


Student resistance to Brother’s Keeper (BK) is as old as Hyde itself.  In recent years, we have been surprised by the resistance that has come from… parents.  While countless Hyde students have referred to it as a “snitch system,” it can be disconcerting to hear a parent refer to it as such.

To be sure, the concept can be a hard one for anyone to understand, much less accept.  Some see it as harsh and punitive.  (Hey, as terms go, “snitch system” isn’t exactly warm and fuzzy.)  Others, like me, perceive it as unusually forgiving.  Here are three frank reasons why we need it more today than ever.

First, “Cops and Robbers” may have worked for us Baby-Boomers when life seemed safer and simpler, but given the downright scary social problems common to today’s culture, it is imperative that students and teachers at least play on the same team. It’s not enough for both teachers and peers to look out for the best interests of young people.  We need to do it together.  (See Synergy.)

Second, this is not your father’s marijuana. It’s far more compact and powerful. Not only are edibles and dabs (If you’re not familiar with this term, Google it… please!) incredibly easy to conceal, just one hit will put anyone “one toke over the line.” I used to think, it’s a rite of passage and “kids will be kids.”  But after talking with experts at Caron and Hazelden about the latest findings relative to drugs and teenagers, I came away committed to doing whatever I can do to prevent young people from smoking weed, drinking alcohol, or taking drugs. And “cops and robbers” is like going to war with a pea shooter.

Third, the boarding school world has been rocked recently by a number of media exposes concerning disturbing stories of sexual abuse by teachers and underground student-on-student sexual assaults.  Is Hyde immune from such behavior? No, but BK offers tremendous promise as an antidote.

The snitch system argument would make some sense to me if Hyde utilized the discipline measures common to most boarding schools – e.g., first strike = probation; second strike = expulsion.  However, I know of no school as forgiving as Hyde. Expulsion is extremely rare. Chances are, you’ll end up working around the grounds for a couple of days – And when did work get such a bad rap in America? – And then you’ll be back in the game with a clean slate.  (I mean, let me say out loud what I have long felt privately: What’s the big deal?!?)  Hyde may be guilty of giving too many chances, but no one could accuse us of giving too few.  And while you’re out there raking those leaves, perhaps you’ll come to realize that you could not claim that you were randomly selected as a rake recipient.

Anyway, in recent years, I have blogged often about BK. Here are three links if you’re interested.

March, 2014:      //www.hyde.edu/blog/malcolms-blog/brothers-keeper-reprise-7-parts-2/

November, 2014: //www.hyde.edu/blog/malcolms-blog/brothers-keeper-explained/

February, 2016: //www.hyde.edu/blog/malcolms-blog/brothers-keeper-meets-hyde-basel/

Onward,  Malcolm Gauld