‘Diss tape’ prompts disciplinary action

Two sophomores were suspended March 13 for producing a “diss” tape that threatened violence and used homosexual slurs directed at other students.
The issue went to the Honor Board when one of the students sent a copy of the track over the school’s e-mail service to nearly half of the sophomore class and a number of juniors, Head Prefect Hailey Orr ’07 said.

The student who sent out the track received a one-day suspension. The creator of the track received a one-week suspension despite the Honor Board’s recommendation of expulsion for the student. The administration’s actions “rarely” differ from Honor Board recommendations, Orr said.

“We did not accept the recommendation of the Honor Board because we don’t ever have to feel compelled to do that,” Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts said. “It is simply a recommendation. In light of all the facts that we knew, we felt that their recommendation did not seem warranted. It seemed more punitive than what we thought it should be.”

The tape included expletives in nearly every other line along with homophobic slurs and threats of violence specifically directed at two of their classmates.

Along with a one-week suspension, the student who created the tape will meet regularly with school psychologist Dr. Sheila Siegel, write an apology letter and design a program that will increase awareness of homophobia in the school community.

Before sending out the track to other students, the student who received a one-day suspension said that he added a verse but that the verse did not contain homosexual slurs or expletives.
“I felt that my punishment fit the crime and that a one-day suspension was appropriate,” the student said.

The Honor Board recommended expulsion because of the student’s behavior during the Honor Board hearings in addition to his infraction of the school’s code of conduct.

“The student showed little to no remorse for his actions, has a history of disciplinary actions and was intimidating those involved in the case,” the recommendation said.

It was one of the only times in the Board’s history that the student in question has tried to influence witnesses.

Even though the Honor Board reached a decision on each student’s punishment on March 13, the recommendation was not posted on the Honor Board bulletin board outside of Chalmers until April 23. Huybrechts decided to post it last Friday.