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Code of Conduct 2023-24

Just as Boston Latin School seeks to be an environment in which all members of its community appreciate and respect one another, so too do these values permeate Facing History. It is obvious, given the difficult subject matter we will be exploring throughout the year, that we will have disagreements about how we see issues. Keep in mind that there are many issues that will arise in this course that in fact have multiple positions that can be argued and this extends to the discussion board. That said, there are some issues that are not debatable and based on factual evidence (i.e. the existence of the Holocaust or factual impacts of institutional racism).

A core value of this course is that we will not criticize, dismiss, bully, or degrade one another as individuals either in or outside the classroom, even if we view ideas or events differently. Lived experiences vary so much and accepting the experiences and lenses of others as valid, even if they are not our own, will be a vital skill for you to master as you enter college and post-college life. In this course we can acknowledge the opinions and ideas of others as valid, but also not devalue our own ideas and perspectives by doing so.

The core values listed below will be upheld and enforced throughout the year in this course. It pertains to the discussion board as well as other forms of class discussion. It also extends to discourse on any form of social media that may be related to issues in this course and/or individuals participating in this course.

  1. Be prepared for online class discussions. Participate fully. Revisit the board after you’ve posted and respond to others. Show that you’ve read other posts by responding to them in yours!

  2. Don’t let any one participant in the discussion board dominate. Take responsibility for asking questions, clarifying issues, etc.

  3. Take responsibility for making the discussion board work and succeed. Reciprocity and respect should govern our interactions with each other.

  4. Be honest about your point of view and support it with specifics. Defend the point of view if it receives criticism but again, avoid personal attacks.

  5. The discussion board can only exist as a safe space if participants respect it as such. All users are prohibited from taking screenshots of the discussion board and then posting them elsewhere on social media or any messaging services. All users are prohibited from discussing or quoting from the discussion board on any other form of social media. Violation of this rule is a violation of the terms of usage and may result in disciplinary action. In short, discussions about the topics on the discussion board stay within the discussion board for your class.

  6. Be responsible for helping to clean up difficult moments on the discussion board ASAP. While these types of misunderstandings or disagreements are not the norm, it is important to address them right away rather than letting them fester.

  7. “Listen” to others’ posts in the way that you would want to be listened to and recognize that everyone has something valuable to contribute. Do not pass judgment or trivialize just because an idea is different from yours or you feel like the point is not important.

  8. Identify and encourage the positive ideas and contributions of your peers rather than immediately focusing on only the ideas you perceive as negative in posts.

  9. People have the right not to have an opinion. That said, everyone has a responsibility to contribute to making the discussion a success by participating.

  10. If opinions, information, or ideas are unclear, ask for clarification from the original poster. Don’t be shy!

  11. Use our own experiences and speak in the first person as appropriate but don’t get stuck in your personal experiences as the only way of addressing a topic.

  12. Do not generalize. Avoid “we,” “they,” “some people,” “those people,” etc. Be explicit and clear in your references.

  13. Take risks and be willing to make and acknowledge mistakes. No question is a foolish question. Learn from the mistakes and the questions. Ideas, values, feelings are often fluid and can change.

  14. Take risks in taking on challenging topics and expect strong opinions and emotions. Don’t fear conflict but engage with it respectfully. Discomfort can push your thinking and that is part of learning.

  15. We will be tackling subjects that are sometimes difficult. Don’t be afraid to insert levity as appropriate, but respect the seriousness of many of the topics we are addressing and recognize that for some students, the topic at hand may be more personal and more disturbing than it is for others.

By registering on the discussion board, you agree to abide by this Code of Conduct.