The History of the Sabin Middle School Constitution is basically the history of how the Constitution came to be written, it's ratification, and events that have happened since then. In this article, I will also describe and clarify clauses of the Constitution. The page with the actual Constitution itself is: Constitution of Sabin Middle School.



In April 1974, construction began on what would eventually become Sabin Middle School. In the early 1970s, the student population of District Eleven was exploding, and as such, new schools were needed. Thus the District Board issued a resolution authorizing for "the Construction of a new Middle School, with such Purposes as shall be Necessary for the continuing Education of the Students, to be located at 3605 North Carefree Circle, in the Eastern Part of Colorado Springs, not far from the District Limits, and to consist of such Properties as shall be Outlined......and this School, to be of great benefit to the Students, and to help to maintain the continuing growth of the Student Population of this District." Construction was supervised by Building Commissioner Gordan Sullivan, who had also designed Will Rogers Elementary School in the late 1950s, as well numerous other elementary and middle schools. At the time of the beginning of construction, the middle school was as of yet unnamed, and the formal school government organization had not been completely detailed: the Resolution only said it would have "a Principal and a Faculty Staff as shall be proper, with such Proper Powers for the Learning of the Students and the Maintenance of their Discipline."

In November 1974, while Sabin was still under construction, Building Commissioner Sullivan submitted a report to the School Board which proposed that a Convention of fifteen District and neighborhood delegates should be convened "for such Purposes as to organize the Government and Administration for the new Middle School, and to also designate the School's Name." A example he provided was the Constitution in effect over Will Rogers Elementary, but recommended that if a Constitution for the Middle School was to be adopted, it would have "more Detail and Clarification". The School Board agreed and assembled a Convention of fifteen District and local Neighborhood officials, and in the Authorization Resolution, stated that the Convention was "for the Purposes of organizing the Government of the new Middle School, of designating it's Name, and of outlining other such Details to maintain the Student Body, the Faculty Staff, and other such Needs, in compliance with District and State Law." And so, on December 28, 1974, the Convention delegates first assembled.

The ConventionEdit

The Convention consisted of 15 of the most respected officials or staff members of the School District. Among them included James Henderson, the former District Eleven Superintendent from 1959-1968, and H.H. Hendricks, the Director of Discipline. All of the Convention members were male, which would lead to criticism of the Constitution by many female District officials, who considered it a "male supremacist document", while in reality it was neutral in gender matters. Two delegates were black, one was Hispanic, and one was Asian. Two members would walk out of the Convention over disagreements concerning parts of Article One.

On the first day of the Convention, the rules and procedures were laid out. A one-person speaking at a time rule was adopted, procedures concerning proper conduct were also set out, and a schedule of discussions and speakers was also established. It was agreed that the delegates would only share information on Convention deliberations with members of the School Board and the Superintendent for the duration of the convention. James Henderson was elected, by a vote of 14 to 1, to be the president and honorary enforcer of the convention. H.H Hendricks was elected the Convention vice-president, and Elijah Terrell the disciplinary enforcer. District recorder Robert Johnson was elected as Convention secretary and bookkeeper.

The Convention members all proposed their own different plans. The four primary plans were the Henderson Plan, the Hendricks Plan, the Howell Plan, and the Stevens Plan. They shall be described below:

The Henderson PlanEdit

The Henderson Plan was proposed by James Henderson, the president of the convention. The Plan was radically different from the Constitution that was eventually adopted, and it went into exhaustive detail. Henderson's plan was more of a list of policies then a actual constitution. It granted the Principal considerable powers, including Authority over the Teachers, the Students, and "the Legislative means of the School". His plan set out a class schedule, a clear list of school officials, and even a list of punishments and disciplinary reprimands. Henderson's plan, proposed on the fourth day of the Convention, was considered a great document, with great quality, but the Delegates eventually rejected it on January 3, deciding for a more general and simplified document which would set up the general frame of the School's operations.

The Hendricks PlanEdit

The Hendricks Plan, proposed by leading delegate and Director of Discipline H.H Hendricks, was introduced to the Convention on January 4, the day immediately after the rejection of the Henderson Plan. Hendrick's plan was less detailed and more general then Henderson's Plan, but included many of the same elements, especially concerning discipline and the powers of the classes. However, it also included some of the elements that would later on be adopted in the final Constitution, including much of the details about the "Teams", which were described as "the divisions of the Classes thereof into different Groups of Operation". It also introduced the idea of "elective", or associate classes. These parts would be combined with the Stevens and Howell Plans to form the final Constitution. The Convention adjourned on January 5 and then reconvened on January 8, deciding to hold the Hendricks Plan "in consideration".

The Howell PlanEdit

After days of planning and further deliberation amongst the Convention, leading delegate Colin Howell proposed the Howell Plan on January 12. Howell's plan was even less detailed, in numerous factors, then Hendrick's Plan, but introduced many elements which would consist of great parts of Articles One and Four. For one, Howell's Plan included most of what would become the Enumeration Clause, as well as the parts concerning the limits on the Powers of the Administration and the Teams, and the organization and basic frame of the School Staff, specified as a "legislative and Administrative Council". His plan also included virtually all of the information on the Elective Classes, as well the introduction of the System of Detention. However, it left out information on the Teachers, the Security Staff, the Student Council, and the Office of Principal, among others. These would all be covered by the Stevens Plan, which would form much of the Constitution's structure.

The Stevens PlanEdit

The Stevens Plan, proposed by relatively unknown delegate Nathaniel Stevens on February 3, right after the Convention's two-week long period of adjournment, would comprise the great majority of the eventual Constitution. Steven's Plan provided the great majority of Article One, all of Article Two, parts of Article Three, parts of Article Four, and all of Articles Five, Six, and Seven. The Stevens Plan was the only one of the four Plans which included information on a "Student Council", specified as the lower house of the Administration, with the upper house being the Staff, as already provided in other versions. Stevens Plan provided most of the enumerated Powers of the Administration, included almost all of the information on the Office of the Principal and it's election Process, as well the Parts concerning the Powers of the Disciplinary Administration and the "Great Disruptions" clause. It also provided information on the Teachers and provided for the oaths and supermacy clauses of Article Six. It also introduced the ratification process of the Constitutional document, if "a final One is to be Implemented". And it also included a recommendation for the name of the Middle School: Sabin Middle School. Stevens explained the name was to be after Dr. Florence Sabin, one of the most well-known doctors in Colorado in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Plan was approved by the Convention on February 8 by a vote of 13 to 2. The two delegates who voted against eventually walked out of the Convention due to disputes over Article One. The Convention, however, still had to figure out certain problems and disputes before appointing a "Committee of Detail" to draft a final Constitution.

Disputes in the ConventionEdit

The two major disputes which the Convention had to overcome before moving any further were the Exclusions of Suspended or Expelled Students (and those in detention) from a school Enumeration and Corporal Punishment. These two were very serious to the Convention delegates, raising numerous moral questions and dilemmas. The first One was this: in the Enumeration that would be taken of all the Students every Quarter, as laid out in the Howell Plan onwards, would those Students suspended or expelled, or held in in-School Detention at the time of the Enumeration be included in the Roll Count? Some delegates believed that although they were suspended, expelled, or held in long-term detention, they should still be included because they attended the School, and that they were still Students, regardless of Status or Condition. Other delegates disagreed, believing that those Students "under Enforced Leave", as they put it, would actually have to be Present at the School to be counted in the Enumeration. Eventually however, delegate David Healey proposed on February 11 that students held in detention should be excluded, while three-fifths of suspended or expelled Students be counted in the enumeration, to include at least some of them in the enumerations "fairly". After some heavy bickering, the Convention adopted this compromise, but those two delegates who eventually left became bitter and more hostile.

The second dispute concerned Corporal Punishment. By the early 1970s, corporal punishment, although still officially legal, was beginning to fall out of use. The delegates had to decide if they wanted to abolish it immediately or if they wanted to let it continue. This inspired another great Argument. Half of the delegates supported Corporal Punishment, including Convention President Henderson and Delegate Howell, and half opposed, including Hendricks and Stevens. Those who opposed it argued that it retarded the Educational Progress of the Students and harmed their mental condition and personalities. Those who supported it said that it encouraged proper Discipline and improved Student's behavior. Finally, delegate William Howard proposed the Prohibition of the Abolition Compromise. This compromise stated that the School would have the Power to abolish Corporal Punishment, but not until three Years had passed, in 1978. The Convention adopted the Compromise on February 27 by a vote of 13 to 2. It was at this time those two delegates (who were George Ricks and Jesus Jorgos) walked out.

Drafting, Signing, and RatificationEdit

Eventually after all the disputes were worked out, the Convention appointed a Committee of Detail on February 28, to draft a document based on the agreements that had been reached, including the Compromises and the Stevens and Howell Plans. This Committee consisted of H.H Hendricks, Joseph Stevens, Nathaniel Stevens, James O'Neil, Colin Howell, and William Howard. The Convention adjourned until March 8 to await the Committee's first rough draft and report. During that time, the Committee produced the first draft of the Constitution. For assistance on the content of the document, the Committee turned to the Constitution of Will Rogers Elementary, to District policies or laws, to the various plans submitted by the Delegates, and to other available material. The members also included some of their personal opinions and viewpoints as well. When the Convention reconvened on March 8, the Committee presented it's report, which was approved, but with "Orders for further Expansion and Revision". Over the next week, a Committee of Style and Adjustment, which consisted of H.H Hendricks, Nathaniel Stevens, secretary Robert Johnson, Hyman Williams, and David Healey, expanded and revised the Committee of Detail's report, producing the final Constitution. Nathaniel Stevens, the person who created the Stevens Plan which comprised much of the Constitution's contents, is credited as the chief draftsman of the document, including the stirring preamble. On March 20, 1975, the last day of the Convention, the Committee submitted the Constitution for signing.

Although none of the delegates were completely satisfied with the final Constitution, they still believed it would make a relatively good document, which would serve well as the Supreme Law of Sabin Middle School. All 13 delegates present signed the Constitution. James Henderson, as Convention president, signed first. The secretary, Robert Johnson created the Concluding statement, organized the spaces for the signatures of the Delegates, and added a Attest section at the end, which confirmed the modifications made by the Committee of Style and Adjustment. He added his signature at the end of that section. The Constitution was then submitted to the School Board of District Eleven for ratification.

The District Board was divided over the Constitution. Some Board members supported it completely, others only partially, and some not even at all. James Henderson, H.H Hendricks, Nathaniel Stevens, and Robert Johnson all cooperated on publishing a Essay which defended and supported the Constitution. Eventually, after days of persuasion by the Convention delegates, the Board ratified the Constitution on March 29 by a vote of 12 to 2.

The Dedication of the School and the Implementation of the ConstitutionEdit

In the Board resolution which ratified the Constitution, the Board also set out certain dates concerning the School, as it was authorized to do, both in the Constitution and by currently existing Board policy. It set the following dates: April 2 as the date for the selection of the Principal, Vice Principal, and Assistant Principal (as authorized in Article 2, Section 2, Clause 6 in the Constitution), April 6 as the date for the allocation of the School Faculty Staff and Teachers (as authorized in the before mentioned Constitutional clause), April 8 as the date for the allocation of the District students to attend the School (as authorized in Board Policy 967-8, passed in 1967), and April 30 as the date of the dedication of the School and the Date from which the Constitution would take effect (as authorized in the Dedication of Schools Regulation, issued in 1948 and amended in 1963 and 1970).

On April 2, the School Board selected Richard Johnson, a former Board member and the former Principal of Helen Hunt Elementary School from 1968-1970, the first Principal of Sabin Middle School. Joseph Roberts, the former Principal of South Middle School, became the first Vice Principal, and Helen Donais, the former Assistant Director of Discipline, the first Assistant Principal. On April 6, the Board allocated the first Faculty Staff of Sabin. Teachers and staff were drawn from other middle schools, primarily South, as well the District Teaching Reserve. On April 8, the Board allocated the Students for the School, from within a territory surrounding Sabin as had been delineated in the original Authorization Resolution of the Construction of the School in March 1974. Construction of Sabin had been finished by April 28.

On April 30, 1975, Sabin Middle School was officially dedicated by School District Eleven Superintendent Wyatt Hamington, in a ceremony attended by the School Board, the Convention delegates, the new Staff of the School, as well the new Principal, Vice Principal, and Assistant Principal. Also on that date, the Superintendent, in accordance with the Ratification Resolution, officially proclaimed the Constitution to be in effect. The ceremony occurred early in the morning, at 8:00 AM. The first Day of School started at 8:45 AM, which thereafter became the start of the Sabin school day. On that first day, the Board arranged for the elections of the first Student Councilors. The School Administration first convened on May 4, and over the next couple School Years, passed a large amount of laws, policies, and procedures.

See also:

Authorization Resolution for the Construction of Sabin Middle School

Ratification Resolution for the Sabin Middle School Constitution

Laws and Policies of Sabin Middle School

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