Honor Code

Mutual Trust and Respect

Westchester Country Day School takes pride in its small community based upon mutual trust and respect for one another. The school recognizes that instruction in the realm of integrity is an important issue and that it may be handled differently at different grade levels. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the Division Heads in the Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools to make their division’s policies and procedures clear to their teachers and their students, and it is the responsibility of the students and parents to read and comply with sections dealing with honor in the Community Handbook. With a unified and clearly articulated and supported approach, we feel that our students will learn a valuable lesson in integrity that will serve them well for a lifetime.

All students at Westchester Country Day School operate under an Honor Code. To make the system of honor work, each student is responsible for his or her own conduct, and students are expected to lead by example. In addition, each student is encouraged to confront a fellow student whom he or she suspects of committing an honor offense or to consult a teacher or administrator with his/her concerns.

Honor Pledge As a member of the Westchester community, I resolve to uphold the Honor Code of my School and to endeavor to promote honor and integrity. Therefore, I pledge not to cheat, lie, steal, plagiarize, or behave in any manner that exhibits dishonesty.

Universal Honor Statement

The following list compiled by WCDS Upper School students, presents a guide to following this honor code.

  • Do your own work: don’t cheat or plagiarize.
  • Do tell the truth.
  • Do respect the property of others: don’t take things that aren’t yours without permission.
  • Do cite work in accordance with established guidelines. 
  • Do separate work for different classes unless given permission by all teachers involved.
  • Do observe all teacher expectations regarding the use of study aids, translation aids, online sources, etc. 
  • Do have papers properly signed: don’t forge signatures.
  • Do uphold the integrity of an assignment, quiz, test, etc. by not disclosing information that would give another student an unfair advantage. 
  • Do ask questions if you are uncertain about what’s acceptable and what’s not. 
  • Do make your signature one of honor and credibility.

Honor in Lower School

The Lower School faculty at Westchester Country Day School believe that young children are very capable of beginning to understand the meaning and value of honor. A kindergarten or first grade child needs to begin to understand the importance of doing one’s own work and of being honest in every communication. Young children are also learning to respect the rights and property of others. As the child progresses, he/she can become accountable for demonstrating his/her own knowledge. By fourth and fifth grades, children should be held accountable for a system of honor that will lead smoothly into the Middle School Honor Code. Children at these levels need to be taught appropriate skills for research and documentation of resources and for accepting only minimal and appropriate help from parents or friends. The teacher assists the child in understanding what level of outside assistance is appropriate. Children feel good about themselves when behavioral expectations are clearly communicated and when they respond in a moral and honorable manner. The major focus of Lower School will be on teaching and on expecting and reinforcing proper behavior; thus, the handling of any Honor Code infraction will be more focused on the instructive than the punitive.

Honor in Middle School

The Middle School years are a time to encourage the development of trust among students, faculty, and parents through continued emphasis and promotion of our Honor Code. The Middle School years emphasize the development of good habits. Honor discussions in Middle School allow our children to understand expectations and the value of consistent, honorable behavior. As a Middle School, we are committed to preparing our students for the Upper School’s expectations; thus, Honor Code infractions will provide opportunities to discuss expectations as well as lay out clear, age-appropriate consequences.

Honor in Upper School

The centerpiece of the honor system in the Upper School is represented by an elected honor council. In addition, each student is asked to demonstrate his or her commitment to this standard of honor by signing the Westchester Country Day School Honor Pledge Book at the beginning of each year during the annual fall Honor Ceremony. The Pledge Book represents one’s affirmation of the values of the Honor Code. Once this pledge has been made a student will write PLEDGED followed by his/her signature on all assignments, an action which is tantamount to saying, “On my honor I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this work, I have followed and will continue to follow all guidelines regarding the WCDS honor code, and I acknowledge that ignoring a suspected honor offense compromises both Westchester’s honor code and the honor by which we operate.” [1] Teachers will instruct students as to how and where to pledge any given assignment. Students will write this honor pledge in full on semester exams and take-home tests/quizzes.

It is the responsibility of each Westchester student to familiarize himself/herself with the Community Handbook’s sections on honor and punishments for honor violations as well as to pay close attention to all teachers’ instructions regarding honor in particular classes/courses. Ignorance of a rule should not be thought by a student to be an acceptable excuse for wrongdoing.

[1] Adapted with permission from the Honor Pledge of Davidson College, Davidson, NC.