One of the tenets on which Mr. Taft founded his school was the belief that character, above all else, determines success in life. Our Honor Code places the responsibility and understanding of academic honesty and personal integrity firmly on the shoulders of each student; every member of the Taft community accepts that responsibility, and commits to upholding the school’s core values.
Taft’s first Honor Code, proposed in 1913, was “an agreement among gentlemen, and not under the supervision of the faculty.” The Honor Code has been updated by and for students several times since then, most recently in 1982.
The Honor Code is both an anchor and a compass, grounding and guiding Taft students. And it is continually reinforced: Every assessment—whether daily homework or a final exam—ends with the student's written pledge: "I have neither given nor received aid on this paper." It a simple but important commitment: Honesty and integrity matter, and your word is your bond.
The Taft School Honor Code
This we believe: that Personal Honor in word and deed, Personal Integrity in thought and action, Honesty in every facet of life, and Respect for other people and their rights are the essence of a Student of the Taft School.
The Honor System is based on these principles, the basic characteristics of a Taft Student:
- a student's word is his or her bond
- a student respects the integrity of personal property
- a student has respect for academic honesty
- a student's conduct is always that of a gentleman or lady.
Violations of the Honor System shall consist of:
- the theft of other persons' property;
- any attempt to give or receive assistance in any way or form in connection with scholastic work for credit; or
- lying in regard to academic matters.
- The phrase "I pledge my honor" written at the end of any scholastic work done for credit is an abbreviation of the statement "I pledge my honor that I have neither given nor received aid on this paper."
- On all department examinations, this statement must be written out in full. Any student not signing the pledge to his or her paper will be notified by the teacher correcting the paper, and then, if unable to sign the pledge, he or she shall be reported to the Honor Committee for investigation. A discussion of plagiarism is included in the Student Handbook.
- There shall be an Honor Committee which shall investigate and deal with all cases involving the Honor System, as the System is defined in Article 1.
- This Committee shall have the power to summon any accused person or persons, to summon any other persons who might have information about the alleged offense, and to recommend penalties to the Headmaster.
- The Committee shall submit to the Headmaster a record of all cases considered in its sessions. The instruction of the succeeding Committee shall be the responsibility of the outgoing Committee.
The PREAMBLE and the CONSTITUTION shall be announced and explained to all new students at the beginning of each year.
The effectiveness of the Honor System lies in the cooperation of the student body. It is left up to the discretion of the individual as to whether or not he or she shall report an offender to the Honor Committee.
- The Committee, without altering in any way the provisions of the Constitution, may take whatever measures it deems necessary to perpetuate the Honor System.
- This Constitution, the Preamble, or any parts or articles may be amended or repealed by a three-quarter vote of the combined Senior and Upper Middle classes.
—Classes of '43, '61, and '82