BK Primer #5

Context
Years ago while attending a conference, I was approached by the headmaster of a traditional school who asked me if I thought Brother’s Keeper might work at his school.  I asked him, “Would you and or your board be open to abandoning or at least dramatically changing your expulsion policy?”

He replied, “Probably not.”

I responded, “Probably not.”

Brother’s Keeper cannot be added to a school culture in the same way one might add a stereo component to a home sound system.  It’s a wholistic concept that must be wired directly into the culture and practiced by all participants.  When it works, it is synchronized with everything from the initial admissions decision to graduation evaluations and speeches.  (Now there’s another concept unique to Hyde!)

While expulsion happens at Hyde, I know of no school that hangs with kids as long as we do.  When I was headmaster of Hyde-Bath, I frequently exhorted our faculty with two proclamations:

– “As long as I am headmaster, we may sometimes be guilty of giving kids too many chances, but let’s never be guilty of giving too few.”

– “I’d rather be the man who bought the Brooklyn Bridge then the man who sold it.”  (I sometimes uttered this in defense against charges of gullibility in the face of a kid’s vows to do better… for the 5th or 6th time.)

It might be possible to have authentic Brother’s Keeper with a more moderate commitment to kids… but I doubt it.

Onward,  Malcolm Gauld