Student Review Board (SRB)
At the Overlake School, discipline is a community wide responsibility. The Student Review Board is a body of students, faculty/staff and administration that exists to help maintain a safe and healthy community. It is our philosophy that discipline is an opportunity for learning, and that all students and adults should contribute to the process of maintaining the standards of behavior that Overlake expects of its community members. Consequently, the Student Review Board helps ensure that cases are heard with a balanced emphasis on both community needs and the individual needs of students that appear before it. When deliberating a disciplinary case, the Student Review Board strives to be fair, objective and focus on the learning of students involved as well as the repair necessary for the Overlake community.
Cases Heard by the Student Review Board
In the upper school, all major infractions are referred to the Student Review Board. Minor infractions may be referred to the Student Review Board at the discretion of the US Dean of Students. Violations of the Academic Integrity Policy are typically referred to the Student Review Board.
Members of the Student Review Board
The Student Review Board is made up of six students: Two seniors, two juniors, one sophomore, and one freshman. In addition to the student members, there are two faculty advisors that serve staggered two year terms as well as The Dean of Students who chairs the board.
Becoming a Member of the Student Review Board
Student members are elected by their class during the general election in the spring semester. For grades that have two members, a third alternate is identified in those grades, and in grades with one member a second alternate is identified through the election process. Members of the Student Review Board serve a one year term. Students are allowed to serve multiple terms, but they must be elected by their peers each year. There is no limit on the amount of terms served by an individual student as long as they are elected by their peers. Faculty advisors serve staggered two year terms on the Student Review Board and are appointed by the Dean of Students. In the event that a faculty member steps down or leaves during their two year term, they will be replaced and the other faculty member may be asked to serve another year to ensure continuity of process. This process dictates that there would be one new Student Review Board faculty/staff member each year.
Requirements of Student Members
- Must undergo orientation to the responsibilities of the Student Review Board as well as general training
- Must know the rules of the school and be willing to uphold them. In the event that a student on the Student Review Board commits an infraction, their continuance on the board is at the discretion of the Upper School Dean of Students
- Must maintain absolute confidentiality around all information presented to the Student Review Board, as well as the identities of all students appearing before the Student Review Board
- Must strive to be objective
- Must be confident enough to express opinions as a member
- Must be able to withstand peer pressure
- Must attend meetings
- Must be a contributing member of the team and able to work collaboratively with all members involved
A member of The Student Review Board will be relieved of his/her duties if s/he does not fulfill the above requirements. If a student’s ability to be a member of the Student Review Board is in question, the Upper School Dean of Students will communicate the concerns and the time frame for rectifying the issues identified. The Dean of Students will make the final decision about whether or not a student is able to continue serving on the Student Review Board.
Every individual has the right to confidentiality in matters of discipline. Members of the Student Review Board are bound by this confidentiality and must not discuss the incidents that come before them outside the confines of the Student Review Board meetings, nor with any person who is not a member of the Student Review Board. Failure to abide by the rules of confidentiality will result in that member’s dismissal from the Student Review Board and may incur disciplinary action as well.
It should be noted that confidentiality is a requirement of the students and faculty on the board, but students appearing in front of the board must make a choice about whether or not they discuss their own circumstances. The Student Review Board recommends that they do not discuss their situation, but a student is not in breach of the rules if they choose to share details about their own SRB hearing.
Who Participates in the Meetings
All members of the Student Review Board should be present at each meeting, but a minimum of 4 students are required to make a recommendation to the Upper School Dean of Students/Middle School Head in a case.
How Decisions are Made
The Student Review Board is not a voting body. They work collaboratively with the intent of achieving a working consensus. In order to make a recommendation to the Dean of Students, each member must endorse the recommendation being put forward. In the case that a working consensus cannot be reached among the students, the Dean of Students will use the information gathered to make a decision.
Evaluation of the Student Review Board
Each year, the Student Review Board will go through the process of collecting feedback about their effectiveness. They will go through the process of evaluating that feedback and make recommendations for changes for the following year.
Parents are not directly involved in the Student Review Board process. The Upper School Dean of Students will inform parents before their student is called before the Student Review Board. After a decision has been made, it will be communicated directly to parents by the Dean of Students.
Process Leading to Review
- A teacher, student, or administrator brings a behavioral issue to the Upper School Dean of Students.
- The Upper School Dean of Students conducts fact-finding research to ascertain whether an infraction has been committed. Information uncovered during the fact-finding process and deemed to be credible is admissible in Student Review Board deliberations. It should be noted that basic fairness and integrity guide the fact-finding process.
- The US Dean of Students notifies both the student’s advisor and the student’s parents of the meeting and procedures.
- The student may choose an advocate. This advocate must be an adult within the school and may be the student’s advisor. Parents and/or other non-school adults are not included in this part of the disciplinary process. Students are not required to have an advocate, which is each student’s choice.
- The student appears before the Student Review Board.
Process in Review
- When the Student Review Board convenes, the Dean of Students or class representative reminds students of the two most important precepts guiding the proceedings: 1) everything that occurs in the meeting is confidential, and 2) the Student Review Board is a committee that weighs the facts, including new information presented in the proceedings, trying to make a fair recommendation.
- The Dean of Students explains the situation in brief to the Student Review Board.
- The student who committed the infraction speaks to the Student Review Board and answers questions from the Student Review Board.
- The Student Review Board then deliberates and decides on a recommendation to submit to the US Dean of Students.
- The US Dean of Students, in consultation with the Upper School Head, may accept the recommendation and will inform the student and parents of the consequence for the infraction. (See Step #6) The US Dean of Students, in consultation with the US Head, may also suggest an amendment to the consequence recommended by the Student Review Board. Then, the Student Review Board reconvenes to consider the suggestion. The US Dean and the Student Review Board will work together to achieve consensus for the appropriate consequence.
NOTE: If the Student Review Board recommends expulsion, the recommendation is immediately transmitted to the Head of School. The Head will decide either to accept or not to accept the recommendation of expulsion. If the Head decides not to accept the recommendation of expulsion, he/she will suggest an amendment to the consequence and refer it back to the Student Review Board. As stated above, the administration and the Student Review Board will work together to achieve consensus. If consensus cannot be reached, the final decision rests with the Head of School.
- Once the consequence has been determined by the Student Review Board and US Dean of Students, the US Dean of Students will report the outcome to the parents and the student. All of the proceedings of the Student Review Board are confidential.
A student who chooses not to cooperate with the Student Review Board’s procedure above should note that the Student Review Board will make its recommendation for consequences to the Upper School Dean of Students based on the information made available. A student choosing not to cooperate with Student Review Board forfeits his or her right to an appeal.
A student may request an appeal of a disciplinary decision made by the Student Review Board, only if new information can be presented.
- Student submits a petition, in writing, within two calendar days of the decision to the US Dean of Students.
- Petition should present the new information and include arguments for why the decision is being appealed.
- US Dean of Students shares the petition with the members of the Student Review Board who decide whether to hear the case.
- If approved, a meeting time will be set.
- At the appeal meeting, new information is discussed.
- The Student Review Board will deliberate the petition, after which they may amend the original consequence and make a new recommendation to the US Dean of Students or they may recommend that the original consequence stand.
- The US Dean will review the Student Review Board recommendation and make a final decision, after which no additional appeals will be heard.