Hazing and Harassment

Every member of our community has the right to feel safe and respected; we will not tolerate any form of harassment. Harassment is any abuse of an individual or group based on ethnic origin, religious beliefs, race, sexual orientation, gender, age, or grade in school. It includes both easily identified acts of verbal, written, or physical abuse, and equally damaging forms of harassment such as graffiti, epithets, stereotypical remarks of “humor,” or any behavior—regardless of intent—that contributes to the creation of a hostile environment.

Bullying and Hazing

Sensitivity, openness, and candor are important to an atmosphere in which students can grow. Impinging on the wellbeing or violating the rights of others is not tolerated. Any incidents involving sexual or any other harassment, racial, religious, or ethnic intolerance, physical injuries or threats, and fighting will be dealt with as disciplinary matters. Furthermore, the community does not tolerate humiliating or potentially harmful “rites of passage” or “initiations” and such behaviors will also be treated as disciplinary matters.

All community members should review Deerfield’s Anti-Bullying and Harassment Policy.

In addition, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has specific standards: Chapter 269 of the General Laws, Section 17-19 mandates the reporting of cases of hazing. From Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 269:Whoever is a principal organizer or participant in the crime of hazing, as defined herein, shall be punished by a fine of not more than three thousand dollars or by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than one year, or both such fine and imprisonment. The term “hazing” shall mean any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person. Whoever knows that another person is the victim of hazing and is at the scene of such crime shall, to the extent that such person can do so without danger or peril to himself or others, report such crime to an appropriate law enforcement official as soon as reasonably practicable. Whoever fails to report such crime shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is sometimes more difficult to identify and understand than other forms of harassment. The overriding factor in sexual harassment is that the offending behavior is uninvited and/or unwanted. It can be subtle and ambiguous, or direct and overt. It is not social or courting behavior. Sexual harassment may include:

  • Inappropriate personal questions
  • Sexually stereotyped or sexually charged insults, humor or verbal abuse
  • Sexually explicit or suggestive remarks about a person’s physical attributes, clothing or behavior
  • Leering at or ogling a person’s body
  • Unwelcome touching
  • Any demeaning sexual propositions
  • Pressure exerted for sexual activity
  • Pressure exerted for a relationship that takes on a sexual or romantic coloring
  • Pressure exerted for a relationships that exceeds the limits of a healthy adult-student or student-student friendship
  • Physical assault or any coerced sexual relations

If a student believes that a teacher or staff person will make a decision based on whether or not the student submits to sexual or intimate conduct, the student should report  the behavior to the Dean of Students, the Dean of the Faculty or the Head of School.

Upon investigation, the school will take action in substantiated cases of harassment. Depending on the circumstances and the severity or repetition of the offense, the response may range from reprimand up to and including dismissal for a student or termination of employment for an adult.

The school seeks to assure any individual who raises a substantiated complaint that he/she will not be subject to any further forms of harassment. Therefore, the school will also take action in cases of retaliation toward someone making a complaint about harassment. Depending on the circumstances, the response may range from reprimand up to and including dismissal for a student or termination of employment for an adult.