Honor Code

Every member of the St. Albans community strives to maintain a high standard of ethical behavior and cultivate  a personal sense of honor. We maintain the honor code as an affirmation of our collective principles and as a practical guideline for right behavior. Few other American schools place such an emphasis on honor or refer to it as often. The St. Albans honor code binds us all to certain barebones expectations: lying, stealing, or cheating are not tolerated and subject to sanction. However, the spirit of the honor code invites us to go beyond the fundamentals and cultivate behavior befitting of true gentlemen.

Academic honor assumes intellectual honesty and integrity  and requires that a student take personal responsibility for his own work. Any student who submits work that is not his own violates both this spirit of academic integrity and is subject to disciplinary action which may result in suspension from the community. A number of specific actions are prohibited under the principle of academic honor: 1) EXAMINATIONS. Any student either giving or receiving assistance on a quiz, test or exam violates the honor code. 2) PLAGIARISM. Any student who submits work that is not his own without acknowledgment of the source violates the honor code. This includes homework assignments. If a student obtains material or ideas directly from an outside source he must cite that source. 3) UNAUTHORIZED COLLABORATION. While students are encouraged to collaborate on test preparation and to discuss freely material and ideas outside of class, it is assumed that all work turned in for a grade (reports, essays, homework, take-home tests, etc.) has been completed by the student alone. Submission of unauthorized collaborative work violates the honor code.


In an age of mash-ups, remixes, and internet use, it is often difficult to know where the line is on intellectual property. We all borrow and use ideas from others – in fact this is fundamental for educating. Plagiarism exists where a person intentionally passes off ideas, wholesale and unfiltered, as his own. At the high school level this is more often thought of as lifting the exact words from a text, or ‘cutting and pasting’ from an internet source, without using quotation marks and notation. However, plagiarism also occurs when a person uses the essential ideas or arguments of a source without providing an acknowledgement. Ideas and arguments are different from facts. You are not expected, for example, to provide attribution when you write that Thomas Jefferson wrote the draft of the Declaration of Independence. This is considered common knowledge and is not a historical argument or unique idea. If, on the other hand, you write that Thomas Jefferson opposed bank loans during the War of 1812 because he thought they’d plunge the country into long-term debt, you may need to provide your source (It’s from Donald Swanson in this case).

Of course we all work under the conditions set forth by the St. Albans honor code and should carry on our studies with personal integrity. I do not expect you to have a solid knowledge of world history. You should, therefore, actively seek information to augment course work whenever possible.  I encourage you to use your peers to discuss content and ideas; this is a great way to study for tests. However, work is not to be purchased, revised or copied from another student, neither should it be otherwise received, edited, or engineered from any source and then submitted as your own unless that source is specifically cited. When it comes to writing, it is always best to let your own thoughts create your own words. A poorly written idea that comes from you is better than an elegant phrase that was simply lifted from someone else’s text.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s