No Fun February

2011 BVA Cuts Day

The members of the 2011 BVA’s are put through their paces by the 2010 Summerall Guard. photo from Facebook, Feb. 2010

In the past couple of days I’ve gotten quite a few private messages from parents who are hearing of a discipline situation on campus. I do not have first hand knowledge of what happened. What I can assume is some cadets were accused of breaking a rule or rules. In the course of investigating the situation a ruling was made and consequences were given.

The rules and procedures for investigations is outlined in the Blue Book section 6, if you’d like to read through them. There are separate procedures for Honor Violations. The cadets are expected to know, and follow, the rules on campus. If there is an infraction there is a procedure to write it up, a procedure to respond, and depending on the type of infraction, procedures for a review or board meeting to address the situation.

The system is built to reward good behavior/actions and consequences are outlined for breaking rules. There is also an appeal process. A PowerPoint presentation about the Discipline System can be seen on the school website.

It is never easy to hear your child broke rules, and its even harder if you don’t believe they did it or weren’t treated fairly. At a leadership school like The Citadel the system is designed for the cadets to know the rules then follow the process and procedures, including the appeal process if they do not agree with a ruling. It can be very hard on parents to take a back seat as their student navigates this process.

I am not a graduate of the school. What I can share with you are my observations of this system as an outsider. I know many cadets who have gone through what I would consider minor violations that still resulted in a battalion transfer, to major lapse in judgement that led to a two semester suspension. In all cases it was tough on the cadet and their parents. In the cases I know of the cadets handled the situation far better than their parents. The cadets took their punishments, learned a lesson and moved on. In some cases they ended up doubling their good friends because they ended up claiming affiliation with two companies.

I know it is hard to hear, or read posts, from parents of cadets who have gotten in trouble. It is tough when they are going through the situation. With time lessons are learned and life goes on.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to be less judgemental and more compassionate. Unless something has happened to you or your cadet remember, you never have the full story. I’ve also learned that sometimes, even if it is your cadet involved, parents don’t always get the full story.

A side note about February. . . .the cadets and alumni have a term for it, “F’d up February.” It is a tough school all year long but in the winter it is even tougher. Early morning PT is even worse in freezing temperatures. February is often the time when cadets in the discipline system because of infractions that happened late first semester find out the results of the review or boards and begin their punishments.

Fortunately as the days get longer and the tempuratures warm the mood on campus improves. Spring break is followed by Recognition Day, then graduation. The good news is we are just about halfway through February.

If at any time you have concerns about what your cadet tells you, call the Commandant’s Office. If you want someone to talk to about your concerns the Ombudsperson’s are also a good resource.

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