The Verdict Is In: We need a school jury


Kaitlyn McClearen, Opinion Writer

Think of a time you or a peer was unfairly punished at school. It was frustrating, wasn’t it? You might have felt you had no voice, or that no one cared about your side of the story. Ask around and you’ll most likely find many of your classmates have felt this exact way. I believe it is time to put this to an end.
What we need is a student jury; a collective group of students who can listen and help give fair consequences to students. If something is going on your permanent record there should be a better process to help prevent it in case it isn’t justified. Most teachers don’t punish just to punish, but everyone knows that one who does, and those teachers can ruin someone’s reputation. There needs to be a buffer, and a student jury could be just the thing.
Imagine you get into a fight; automatically you would be given ISS. Now I am not saying this needs to be changed, but there are two different sides of the story that needs to be heard and more than likely two individual punishments that need to be given. This can help give attention to each student and what they might need. Sometimes a student might act out, but often not for the sole purpose of being disruptive. Rarely is a student given a chance to explain themselves, it is dependent only on if the teacher wants to hear it.
In most colleges and universities students are given the opportunity to defend themselves because they recognize that not every professor can judge with unbiased opinions and give a justified consequence. It’s called an academic appeal; under the right circumstances you can ask for a review of a certain person of authority’s decision. All schools should have some sort of appeal system, but defending yourself in front of a jury can also be a helpful practice for the real world.
Furthermore, unfair punishments in school are detrimental to minorities who experience unreasonable penalties more often. Minority students can be pushed away from school and have their education disrupted from the unnecessary discipline. A system to help defend yourself would be beneficial for so many other reasons than just your permanent record.
Admittedly, you wouldn’t need the jury for everything, and a simple write up might need one student in the same class who agrees it’s a fair punishment. It’s time to give the students a real voice, and allow us to stand up and speak out, even against an unfair teacher.