Brother’s Keeper: A Primer

The Hyde culture can be hard for new students to grasp and Brother’s Keeper (BK) is probably the most challenging component of all.  Perhaps a few words on the front end will prove helpful to those considering or starting a Hyde education.

What is it?
Hyde students are expected to encourage the personal best of their peers as well as call each other on their indiscretions.  For example, if you observe Johnny smoking a cigarette downtown, you have a responsibility to do something about that.  You are expected to tell Johnny to turn himself in to the Dean’s office and make it clear that if he doesn’t, you will.   If you do not, and it later becomes known that you did not – and such things have a near magical tendency to become known at Hyde (!) – you will find yourself in the same disciplinary boat as Johnny.

Brother’s Keeper helps to create a community of people who care for each other, who make it safe, and indeed an expectation for all members to take risks and commit to their personal best.  In a BK community, working hard and taking risks is cool. While most kids start out with a distaste for BK, they tend to become ardent advocates once they benefit from it – i.e., once they accomplish something that they did not think they could accomplish – and they then make the connection between the accomplishment and the fact that somebody pushed them to take this new step.

It’s important to differentiate between BK, the philosophical concept (“We help others achieve their best.”) and BK, the disciplinary procedure as practiced at Hyde.  The ultimate goal is to graduate kids who will grow into adults who recognize that they will never achieve their best without the help of others and that they should not expect that help if they are unwilling to offer it to others.  It’s a 2-way street.  The rest is just details.

Onward,  Malcolm Gauld