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The Boiling Point

Agenda says debate over found school constitution should wait for next fall

Hannah Jannol, Arts & Culture Editor

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A day after the Boiling Point published  the previously lost Shalhevet Constitution, the Agenda Committee decided it should be discussed and possibly rewritten by the community next year, starting with an early Town Hall or perhaps at Just Community reorientation.

At its regular weekly meeting in the conference room Wednesday afternoon, newly elected Agenda Chair Bennett Schneier voiced that he thought the Constitution must be “pretty irrelevant” because it has been absent for four years, and people are just now noticing.

But Dean of Students and Agenda adviser Mr. Jason Feld said the Constitution is important because it is the “guiding document in which the society is bound.” 

“Either we revive it, we bury it, we create a new one, or we create a declaration of principle,”  Mr. Feld proposed. 

A declaration of principle would be a document which expresses the principles and values of the Just Community, without the technical laws in the newly found Constitution that may not be relevant to Shalhevet anymore, Mr. Feld said. 

Over the course of the meeting, which was chaired by current Agenda Vice president Alec Fields since the seniors are in Poland, The consensus became that it should be discussed at the beginning of net year, because there are only three Town Halls left this year, all of which have other topics chosen already.

Waiting until next fall would also mean Agenda would have time to plan over the summer, the committee found.

That planning would involve coming up with four or five possible reactions the student body might have to the existing Constitution, then preparing a list of things to do, depending. For example, if students want to re-write the Constitution, Agenda would have a prepared plan for that. This way, ideas discussed in September would not die at the end of the Town Hall, but could be quickly acted upon.

That led to a discussion about next year’s Just Community re-orientation, a program started this year with 10 hours spread over 10 school days, and the new-found Constitution. Freshman representative Noa Kligfeld and Bennett both said since Shalhevet had changed since the Constitution was initially drafted and ratified in 2002, questions about the spirit of the Just Community and why it is important should be adapted to the present. 

“We should have a discussion about why the Just Community is important, instead of imposing the idea that the JC is important,” said incoming Agenda Secretary Lucy Fried.

Lucy’s idea was a response to Bennett’s comment that Shalhevet is no longer a “Just Community school,” but instead is a school that happens to have a Just Community and Town Hall — so any discussion of the Just Community and the constitution should fit that.

Most people agreed, and many liked Lucy’s idea that she write on Schoology before the summer, “Why is the Just Community important to you?” so people have time to ponder it before fall. 

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Agenda says debate over found school constitution should wait for next fall