I’ll never forget the time a distinguished New England head of school came to visit Hyde ready to do battle over what he perceived to be our “harsh, unforgiving” disciplinary program. At the end of his visit, he exclaimed, “This is the most forgiving school I’ve ever seen! It’s definitely more forgiving than my school.”
All kids fight BK. However, most come to realize that it works at Hyde precisely because Hyde is an incredibly forgiving place. (Although I grant you, it may not feel like it when you’re out raking leaves on a cold New England fall day.) At traditional schools, BK would have trouble working because such schools cling to an archaic policy of expulsion. (I call it the “Cops & Robbers Syndrome” – the kids are the robbers and teachers are the cops.) Kids would never turn their peers in because they would fear that they would be ruining their lives. Hyde’s experience proves that if the schools will change, the kids will follow suit.
In closing, it’s impossible to talk about BK without referring to work, or more specifically, Work Crew. Chances are, if you find yourself on the receiving end of BK, you will spend some time on Work Crew. This may find you cleaning windows, picking up litter, or shoveling snow during times when your peers will be enjoying themselves. Sadly, the whole notion of work is regarded with such disdain that kids perceive Work Crew as “cruel and unusual punishment.” I repeatedly find myself lamenting, When did Work get such a bad rap in America? Hey, a great work ethic is critical to future success! (As an aside, one need only spend some time with some of Hyde’s Asian students to see that kids in other parts of the world are ready to get busy.) However, at the end of the day, if you truly detest manual labor, then you would do well to remember the wisdom of an old adage: If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.
Onward, Malcolm Gauld