Lunch With the Deans, a New Disciplinary Initiative

Charlotte Arzouian, Deputy Middle School Editor

At most schools, having lunch with a teacher seems like it would be a raffle prize. At Poly, however, eating with a dean is anything but a pretty scene. Dean’s lunches were introduced to middle school students in an assembly about a week ago as a new form of discipline.

Dean’s lunches are an extension to Poly’s long-standing punishment of being sent to the dean, and have added to Poly’s traditional motto, “Mind, Body, Character,”  by improving student’s choices. “Disciplinary warnings and in-school suspensions have always been a part of our code. The new system is just a reminder to stay accountable for your mistakes,” said 5th- and 6th-grade teacher Caesar Fabella. 

“The purpose of these lunches is to give students the time to reflect upon poor decisions and help them to make more informed and better decisions in the future. Support and advocacy is at the center of all that we do as Middle School Deans,” says Middle School Dean Alia Carponter-Walker.

However, the new system allows only five minutes for students to secure food at Commons before reporting to the room and the time provided. Regardless of the reason, being late results in another reflective meal. 

The student sits in a room with one of the deans or Director of Student Life Jared Winston, and proceeds to eat lunch in silence while answering reflective questions. These questions were created by the deans and aim to help students think about what they did wrong in effort to improve next time.     

Head of Middle School André Del Valle identified “saying something to a student that is intentionally meant to hurt them as a person, cutting classes and not being where you are expected to be, bullying other students, picking on other students,” as all types of activities students execute repeatedly that land them a dean’s lunch after being spoken to multiple times. To top it off, an email is also sent to parents when their child receives a dean’s lunch.

Countless dean lunches result in significant consequences. Middle School Dean Alia Carponter-Walker reiterated the dean’s lunch “scale,” in an email to The Polygon. Each Dean Lunch requires students to complete a reflection sheet. If students are tardy to or miss a Dean Lunch they must attend an additional one. The following are the disciplinary correlations for these Middle School behavioral violations:


1 Deans Lunch = Email home to share next steps and explain the situation


3 Deans Lunches = In-School Suspension (ISS)


1 Infraction post ISS = Out-of-School Suspension (OSS)


1 Infraction post OSS = Disciplinary Warning


Many students seemed petrified when they first heard about Poly’s new form of discipline. An eerie silence grew in the theater when it was introduced.

To some, the system may appear overkill, but it is not without a purpose. “I don’t want people to think that dean’s lunches are just for someone to be in trouble. I think a lot of people see it as punitive, unruly — just a punishment. And I like to think about every opportunity to learn and grow, so I want people to think of it as a different way to think about an issue,” said Middle School Dean Peter Soto.

 Although dean’s lunches cannot be given without a warning, one action can be equivalent to multiple dean’s lunches or a greater consequence. “I don’t want people to think that we have dean’s lunches because we have bad students,” added Del Valle. “We are having dean’s lunches to become more thoughtful and reflective about the choices we make as students, and just as importantly, as members of a bigger community.”