Consistency is the most important aspect in maintaining, reinforcing, and writing any policy, as explained by Mr. Bianco. As most returning students may have noticed, the atmosphere regarding discipline has felt undoubtedly different; and the root of this feeling is the significant change in consistency. With the introduction of our newest Director Of Students, Mr. Samuel Bianco, the student handbook has been refreshed for the betterment of everyone on campus. Mr. Bianco has stated that with his introduction to this new position, he fully intends to take the name of his position and to apply it to his work. “As Director of Students I plan to assist the students in any way possible; whether it be the little things like helping a student get into a locker that doesn’t work or working with them when they are struggling….and even dealing with big things that happen throughout the week.” With this personal assistance, Mr. Bianco plans to make the discipline, and environment, at MSJ a “consistent and fair place to provide every student with a similar and great experience.”

After 12 years in the classroom, Mr. Bianco is hard at work in his new position as Director of Students.

However, with these changes to consistency, came changes to how the handbook is read and responded to. When asked about the most basic rule changes, Mr Bianco responded with,  “The rules themselves have not changed, but rather the rules have been rewritten in a way that they are easier to understand.” Now what does this mean exactly ?

Mr. Bianco’s edited versions of the Mount Book. Here is a comparison between 2017-2018 student handbook (marked) and the current student handbook (bottom).

Well, when the handbook from this year (2018-2019) is compared to the handbooks of years past, one would see that the rules have been rewritten in a way that allows readers to understand the specifics of each rule. Mr. Bianco stated in our interview that this was done with the best interest of the students in mind, as well as the community formed by and with MSJ.

These changes have brought along quite a few opinions both from teachers and students. For instance, when I asked what senior Mark Ramsey. thought about these new changes he stated that, “It’s a lot more strict than before when I was a freshman, the rules were a lot less enforced upon students. The rules were more so emphasized, and I believe that the upperclassmen are actually used to that lack of enforcement.” As expected with all changes, those who have experienced the rules from years prior, some people will always disagree with certain aspects. Furthermore, with the changes to the rules, it has become apparent among the upperclassmen that enforcement and consistency has become a significant, and important, priority in the discipline system. For example: in the quote from Mark, he stated that the rules didn’t seem as strict as they are now and thus it can be seen that the change in consistency has undoubtedly started working to the favor of the discipline system.  

But, as to be expected of the students, (who are the ones directly affected by the changes) a majority of them dislike the “new” policy on cell phones. However, the students who gave their official opinions on the new changes have unanimously agreed that these changes are understandably important and indeed have a positive impact.”I understand why Mr. Bianco made the ‘no phones period’ rule because they are distracting to the students.” -senior Christian Avara.  Ms. Gallagher stated in her opinion that, from a teacher’s perspective, she found the “new” phone policy incredibly helpful, “I think that the cell phone policy is great. It helps previously distracted students focus on what they’re doing in school while removing their worry for what is happening outside of school and about their phones themselves.”  

While you may see St. Joe students on their iPads during the day, you shouldn’t see them on their phones, which are not allowed to be out and visible during the school day.

But what is this “new” phone policy? For one, it’s not as new as most of the campus might believe. To the alumni, teachers, and upperclassmen, the “new” cell phone policy isn’t necessarily new, but rather is being enforced much better than before. Before the dawn of the iPads, introduced with the current senior class (2019), the cell phone policy had remained as it does now; no phones are to be used on campus during the school day. However, this rule was alleviated when the iPads came into the classrooms to allow students who were not in possession of the iPads to participate in class activities, but the phones were still not to be used outside of the classroom. But why does this year seem different from the rest, if the rule has not changed? Well, since every grade at MSJ now has an iPad, the exceptionalism for upperclassmen has been removed to allow for more consistency in enforcing this rule. And for further clarification, Mr. Greg McDivitt, Director of Studies, expressed, “In practice, the application of the ‘no cell phone’ rule to include the Counseling Center, Cafeteria, Library, and Campus Ministry is a tangible, easily recognized, difference that all students are experiencing.  I believe that consistency across all campus spaces during the school day helps enforcement of the rule everywhere.”  When asked about this change, Mrs. Abdo voiced her opinion stating that, “While I understand that students are upset, the cell phone rule is helpful but it should also be understood that it wasn’t correctly applied; but was still present. Enduring personal relationships has been a Xaverian value and less technology is consistent with simplicity and discipline in dress and workplace. I think the “new” cell phone policy can help us be more consistent with the Xaverian values like: Simplicity, Humility, and Trust (in the regard to cheating).”

Despite the significant contrast in opinions regarding the new rules, most (if not all) can agree that the enforcement of these rules will help in one way or another. The proposition that these rules will bring a new sense of consistency, aside from important, will be a helpful change to the atmosphere here on campus. Even though the adjustment period may be a learning curve for some, a detriment (superficially) to others, the consistency in discipline is proposed to improve life on campus in its own time; and these changes have already made their own significant impact. From where we are now, we can see that these changes are already making their way into the blood of student activity; and that this entry is already helping MSJ students acquire the professionalism that they are renowned for.

Aidan van der Horst, Senior

Aidan van der Horst is a senior and a member of the Multimedia Journalism class.