Students share their opinions on the Demerit system

Whether it be a violation of the dress code, tardiness, etc., Darlington uses the demerit system. When students do not comply with the rules outlined in the Darlington Upper School Student Handbook, they receive a demerit. When a student reaches three demerits, they receive an automatic detention.

For girls, the skirt length should not be shorter than the fingertips. When the skirt is too short, students receive a demerit.

 “Most girls I know roll up their skirts” senior, Leah Houser, said,“ It’s not really appealing to [girls].”

 Boys are expected to wear a belt, and the handbook states that belts must be brown or black. However, Dean of Student Life Brant Evans said, “As long as [students] are wearing a belt, we usually don’t stop them.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Darlington required all students and faculty to wear a mask. This rule caused tension because some students felt that it was their right not to have to wear one. 

According to senior Jack Good, “The Constitution says that I don’t have to wear a mask.” 

Demerits also stem from tardiness. School starts at 8 a.m., and most teachers require their students to be at their desks ready to learn.

 “At some point, there’s got to be some leniency,” senior Bradley Smith said. “For example, the Learning Center has a four-minute window where you can be four minutes late, and I think that it’s really convenient, especially if it only happens once or twice a semester.”

  A train track runs alongside Darlington’s campus, and students say it sometimes causes them to be late. 

“There are a bunch of confounding variables such as the train,” senior Daniel Donadio said. “Everyone thinks that it’s a joke, but it’s a big issue. Road work also has been a problem for a long long time. Teachers say to wake up earlier, but that’s just not an option for me.” 

Dorm students report different experiences with tardiness.

“Day students know when they have to wake up, and dorm students know when they have to wake up,” senior Jack Quandt said. “A bunch of dorm students sleep through their alarm. It’s their fault if they are late.”

Some students believe that the demerit system works well to enforce the rules.

“[The demerit system] gives a good incentive to not do bad,” senior Hamilton Shamblin said.

Senior Luci Saxton offered a final word.

“Yes, you should have a reason to want to follow the rules, but this is a college prep school. They don’t give demerits in college.”