Health and Safety

Sexual Intimacy

Students are asked to exercise thoughtful and appropriate discretion in all their relationships. Sexual intimacy—including undress—is not permitted for students at Deerfield.

Responses to incidents of sexual intimacy are coordinated by the Student Life Office in conjunction with parents/guardians, advisors, the counseling staff, and the Health Center. The school may take action including but not limited to required counseling, Letters of Reprimand, meetings with advisors, and discussions with parents/guardians. Repeated disregard for the Sexual Intimacy Policy may be grounds for disciplinary response.

We address issues of human sexuality through special programs in classrooms, in dormitories, and in one-on-one conversations. Students with questions or concerns are encouraged to have discussions with their families, school counselors, Health Center staff, and/or advisors.

Definition of Consent

It is never legal to engage in any intimate contact without another’s full consent. Consent is more than “no means no”—it represents an affirmative, unambiguous, and conscious decision by each party to engage in sexual activity. “Yes means yes” is a recommended guideline for consent.

Statutory Rape, Unwanted Sexual Contact

In Massachusetts,  a person can consent to intercourse at age 16, and can consent to being touched in their private areas at age 14. (The state defines intercourse as the penetration of another’s body cavity.)  By law, students under those ages cannot consent to such activities. Students should be aware that  underage sexual activity constitutes the crimes of Statutory Rape and/or Indecent Sexual Assault on a Child. It is never legal to engage in  sexual contact without another’s full consent. It is strongly recommended that consent be explicitly expressed and not just implied .

Any allegations of unwanted sexual contact and/or sexual contact involving underage students must be reported to the Assistant Head of School for Student Life, the Dean of Students, the Dean of the Faculty, or the Head of School. Anytime an employee of the Academy becomes aware, directly or indirectly, of an allegation of unwanted sexual contact and/or sexual contact between underage students, the state’s mandated reporter law requires that the allegation be reported the Department of Children and Families.  While anyone may do so, typically the Assistant Head of School for Student Life will lodge reports with the Department; other adults may also be obligated to make a report.

Sexual Intimacy

Students are asked to exercise thoughtful and appropriate discretion in all their relationships. Sexual intimacy—including undress—is not permitted for students at Deerfield.

Responses to incidents of sexual intimacy are coordinated by the Student Life Office in conjunction with parents/guardians, advisors, the counseling staff, and the Health Center. The school may take action including but not limited to required counseling, Letters of Reprimand, meetings with advisors, and discussions with parents/guardians. Repeated disregard for the Sexual Intimacy Policy may be grounds for disciplinary response.

We address issues of human sexuality through special programs in classrooms, in dormitories, and in one-on-one conversations. Students with questions or concerns are encouraged to have discussions with their families, school counselors, Health Center staff, and/or advisors.

Definition of Consent

It is never legal to engage in any intimate contact without another’s full consent. Consent is more than “no means no”—it represents an affirmative, unambiguous, and conscious decision by each party to engage in sexual activity. “Yes means yes” is a recommended guideline for consent.

Statutory Rape, Unwanted Sexual Contact

In Massachusetts,  a person can consent to intercourse at age 16, and can consent to being touched in their private areas at age 14. (The state defines intercourse as the penetration of another’s body cavity.)  By law, students under those ages cannot consent to such activities. Students should be aware that  underage sexual activity constitutes the crimes of Statutory Rape and/or Indecent Sexual Assault on a Child. It is never legal to engage in  sexual contact without another’s full consent. It is strongly recommended that consent be explicitly expressed and not just implied .

Any allegations of unwanted sexual contact and/or sexual contact involving underage students must be reported to the Assistant Head of School for Student Life, the Dean of Students, the Dean of the Faculty, or the Head of School. Anytime an employee of the Academy becomes aware, directly or indirectly, of an allegation of unwanted sexual contact and/or sexual contact between underage students, the state’s mandated reporter law requires that the allegation be reported the Department of Children and Families.  While anyone may do so, typically the Assistant Head of School for Student Life will lodge reports with the Department; other adults may also be obligated to make a report.

Sanctuary Policy

Understanding the reluctance to ask for help when disciplinary measures could ensue, the Sanctuary Policy allows students to do so without invoking a disciplinary response. Helping a fellow student who has been compromised by the effects of alcohol or drugs may be life-saving.

The Sanctuary Policy is invoked when a student or a student’s friend makes the request, either in person or with a telephone call to the Health Center. At any time, but especially after curfew, when dormitories are locked and alarmed, students may request Sanctuary for themselves or another student. Security will be asked to escort the student(s) to the Health Center. Even if an employee intervenes at some point after the initial phone call, Sanctuary will remain intact, and no disciplinary response will ensue.

If, during a Sanctuary admission, a student becomes unmanageable, disruptive, or threatening, Sanctuary will be revoked.

Students who bring a fellow student to the Health Center for Sanctuary will not be liable for disciplinary action, and their identities will remain confidential.

Although no disciplinary action will result when students are granted Sanctuary, the Dean of Students will be notified.  The Sanctuary event will not appear as part of the students’ school records.  Students must inform their parents/guardians. In addition, they will undergo an assessment by a professional drug and alcohol counselor, at their expense. Two follow-up meetings with a member of the counseling staff are also required.

On occasion, follow-up drug/alcohol assessments may indicate that the school cannot support students’ needs and ensure their safety. In such circumstances, additional outside resources may be required.

Getting Help for Friends

At any time, a student may identify to a dean any other students who may be struggling with drugs or alcohol—or who may otherwise be at risk. In this case, the students at risk would be admitted to the Health Center under Sanctuary, without a disciplinary response.

Drug & Alcohol Testing

To ensure the health and wellbeing of our students, the Academy reserves the right to require drug and alcohol testing. Any time such testing is required by the Academy, refusal to submit a specimen will be interpreted as a positive result. The cost of drug and alcohol testing is the financial responsibility of parents/guardians and will be billed to the student’s account.

Drug Testing for Suspected Use

  • When employees suspect that students, due to their behaviors or circumstances, have been drinking alcohol or using drugs, deans or their designees may administer a breathalyzer test or bring the students to the Health Center where a urine sample may be collected. Further, a test will usually be required any time a student is found in possession of a vaporizer or other drug/tobacco related paraphernalia.
  • Testing does not require the consent of parents/guardians.
  • Collection of urine samples will proceed in accordance with the Health Center policy for such sample collection. Urine samples will be sent to an outside laboratory for processing, and the results will be reported to the school physician.
  • If the testing laboratory reports that a specimen has been tampered with or substituted in any way, the test will be considered positive.
  • A positive test for alcohol or drugs will be interpreted as evidence of a major school rule violation and the student will be subject to disciplinary proceedings.

Prospective, Random Drug Testing After a Discipline Event

  • Prospective, random drug testing is typically performed after a disciplinary event involving drugs and alcohol.
  • Parents/Guardians and students are notified before prospective testing begins, but it does not require their consent.
  • Health Center staff administer the testing. Collection of urine or Breathalyzer samples will proceed in accordance with Health Center policy, and results will be reported to the school physician. The spectrum of testing will be determined by the school physician or the Dean of Students and may vary.
  • If the testing laboratory reports that a specimen has been tampered with or substituted in any way, the test will be considered positive.
  • A positive test for alcohol or drugs will be interpreted as evidence a major school rule violation, and the student will be subject to disciplinary proceedings.
  • The duration of the prospective testing period will be determined by the Dean of Students.

Drug Testing Due to Community Concern

  • When a pattern of behavior or circumstances is observed that raises significant community concern that a student may be abusing drugs or alcohol, the Dean of Students may require drug or alcohol testing.
  • Testing typically involves a baseline test for drugs and alcohol followed by prospective random testing as described above.
  • When testing is done due to community concern, a positive result on the baseline test will not be treated as a disciplinary event. However, evidence of continued use of drugs or alcohol on subsequent random testing will be considered a violation of a major school rule, and the student will be subject to disciplinary proceedings.

Drug Testing for Medical Reasons

  • When, in the course of providing medical or mental health care to a student, the Health Center staff or the counseling staff becomes concerned about the possible abuse of drugs or alcohol, the school physician may require testing for drugs or alcohol including a baseline test and prospective random testing.
  • Parents/Guardians will be notified of such testing.
  • The results of such testing will be confidential, and a positive test will not result in disciplinary proceeding.
  • The response to a positive test will be medical. Recurrent positive test results consistent with continued abuse of drugs or alcohol will likely trigger a Medical Leave of absence.

Extended Leave

The Academy recognizes that there are occasions when a student may benefit from a leave from school to address a problem, while still remaining in good standing. A leave may be voluntary or required. A Voluntary Leave is initiated by a student or the family and must be approved by the Assistant Head of School for Student Life or the Dean of Students. A Required Leave is initiated by the Assistant Head of School for Student Life, the Dean of Students or a designated representative.

Leaves may vary in length, though longer absences are more difficult to accommodate. For a leave, voluntary or required, return would not be automatic and would be subject to review based on criteria specified at the outset. In the case of an extended leave, repeating all or part of a school year may be necessary. It is not appropriate to use a leave of absence to postpone or otherwise interfere with any pending disciplinary proceedings.

When, for any reason (excused or unexcused), a student has missed 20% or more of the course meetings during a given term (approximately two weeks), Deerfield may withhold credit for courses for that term or may compel a student to move to pass/fail status for the term. Pass/fail status is not an option anyone may invoke; it is something the school might require.

Deerfield may require a student missing more than 20% of course meetings during a given term to go on leave until the beginning of the next academic year. No academic credit from Deerfield would be granted for the relevant terms in this circumstance.

The following descriptions outline typical forms of leave, although individual circumstances may require other responses:

Medical Leave

Medical Leaves might include those for severe or prolonged illnesses, significant injuries, especially those requiring major surgery, or psychological problems, including depression or eating disorders. A Medical Leave can be voluntary or required.

The school physician convenes a Leave Committee, consisting of the Assistant Head of School for Student Life, the Dean of Students or Class Dean, Director of Studies, and the student’s advisor, to determine the timing of and criteria for the student’s return to school. While the student is on Medical Leave, the school physician and/or school psychologist will work with the family and, when appropriate, the attending physician or psychologist at home. The Leave Committee will receive updates on the student’s status while away on Medical Leave and, at the appropriate time, will assess the readiness of the student to return from Medical Leave. Informed by a recommendation of the Leave Committee, the decision concerning the return from Medical Leave will be determined by school physician in consultation with the Assistant Head of School for Student Life or Dean of Students.

The degree of impact of a Medical Leave on a student’s academic status will vary with the amount of class time missed, the timing in the academic calendar, and the point in the student’s Deerfield career. The Academy will take steps to help the student make up missed work and, when appropriate, to adjust expectations about the work necessary to complete a given course.

Personal Leave

A Personal Leave may be granted at the request of the student and family or may be required by the Academy. The decision to allow or require a Personal Leave is made by the Assistant Head of School for Student Life or Dean of Students in collaboration with the Director of Studies, the school physician, and the student’s advisor and teachers. At the start of the leave, criteria for return will be specified. Informed by a recommendation from this group, the decision concerning the return from Personal Leave will be determined by the Assistant Head of School for Student Life or Dean of Students and the Director of Studies.

Personal Property

Automotive Registration

Day students who drive to school must submit registration information to the Student Life Office for all vehicles being driven to campus. Cars should be parked in areas designated specifically for day student parking. Once parked, cars should not be moved until after the end of the academic day. Not parking in the designated area will result in APs; further or repeated parking violations will result in revocation of driving privileges and/or other disciplinary response.

Bicycle Registration

Bike registration facilitates recovery if bicycles are lost or stolen. Bikes should be registered with the Security Office

Renters Insurance

The Academy recommends that students arrange for insurance coverage through their family’s policy for belongings such as bicycles, cameras, and electronic equipment. Deerfield Academy is not responsible for a student’s personal belongings and does not carry any insurance policy that provides coverage for them.

Fire Precautions and Drills

Fire Safety Procedures — Dormitories

If students smell smoke or hear the fire alarm, they should follow the steps below:

  1. Students should close windows, open window shades, and turn on lights.
  2. Feel door surfaces before opening. If the door is warm, do not open it: signal for help from the window. If the door is not warm, exit quickly.
  3. Proceed immediately to the nearest exit.
  4. Students should leave doors open. (An employee may close doors as they confirm the complete evacuation of each space.
  5. Sound alarm if needed.
  6. Go directly to the designated gathering place for roll call and instructions.
  7. Upon authorization from fire marshal or designee, students may return to the dormitory.

Fire Code

Employees (and students) have the obligation to remove—and the right to request removal of—any decoration, furnishing or other possession that appears to compromise the health or safety of anyone. This can include furniture in rooms or corridors that blocks sightlines or is arranged in such a way that it hinders direct and rapid egress. Each student may have:

Wall Hangings

  • One bulletin board no larger than 2 feet x 3 feet.
  • Four “uncovered” paper decorations (maximum size 2 x 3 feet). All other flammable materials (posters, prints, etc.) must be framed under Plexiglas or glass that is at least 1/16 of an inch thick.
  • All nylon, plastic, and cloth wall hangings are prohibited unless framed and under glass or Plexiglas.
  • Decorations in rooms may only be hung from vertical surfaces and may not be hung over windows or doorways.
  • Nothing may be hung from sprinkler heads or piping.
  • Flammable materials, even if fire treated or framed, are not permitted within two feet of any doorway.

Furnishings

  • One piece of stuffed, upholstered furniture (not including a padded desk chair) per room. Students found to be in violation of furniture limit restrictions will be charged for the removal and disposal of the extra furniture. Purchase of Fire Code Compliant desk chairs can be facilitated through Hitchcock House.
  • All upholstered furniture, including desk chairs, must be in compliance with the State of California Bureau of Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation Technical Bulletin Number 117. The following label must be affixed to any upholstered furniture for use in a Deerfield dorm: NOTICE: THIS ARTICLE IS MANUFACTURED FOR USE IN PUBLIC OCCUPANCIES AND MEETS THE FLAMMABILITY REQUIREMENTS OF CALIFORNIA BUREAU OF HOME FURNISHINGS TECHNICAL BULLETIN 117. Furniture without this tag will be removed and disposed of immediately by the Physical Plant and students will be charged for removal and disposal.
  • Polystyrene (bean-bag) chairs are prohibited.

Electrical Appliances

  • Electrical appliances for cooking or heating (including sunlamps, hotpots, coffee makers, or space heaters) are not permitted in student rooms, corridors, bathrooms, or common rooms, unless approved by the Director of Safety and Security and the Dean of Students.
  • Irons are permitted for use in common rooms only.
  • Blow dryers and flatirons are permitted but should be unplugged immediately after use.
  • No electrical string lights (i.e. holiday, decorative) of any kind are allowed.
  • No lava lamps.
  • Extension cords must be of heavy-gauge wire with a three-prong (grounded) plug and carry only one outlet. If additional outlets are needed, the use of a pre-wired multiple outlet strip with a circuit breaker is required.
  • Halogen lamps and other high intensity lamps in excess of 100 watts are prohibited.

Other Considerations

  • Bicycles and other personal belongings may not be stored in corridors or stairwells.
  • Dormitory room doors must be unlocked when people are in the room.

Procedures for Fire Code Inspections

Designated fire code inspectors will visit student rooms and common areas regularly, but faculty residents bear principle responsibility for student adherence to the fire code. The procedure for reporting and following up on a violation is as follows:

  1. When an inspector observes a fire code violation, the student receives a written warning, and a follow-up report is shared with the deans and resident faculty.
  2. Upon notification, the student must correct the problem immediately. The faculty resident should confirm that the violation has been addressed.
  3. For a repeat violation, the student receives APs that accumulate for each day that the violation continues. Ongoing violations may result in additional disciplinary action.

Whistle Blower Policy

Deerfield Academy encourages the reporting of any activity that employees, students or parents/guardians believe in good faith may violate any Federal or State law or regulation. To encourage this reporting, the Academy and its Board promise that they will not take retaliatory action against anyone who submits a report in good faith. In addition, the Academy and its Board will not disclose the name of any individual who makes such a report except on a strict “needs to know” basis.

Call 866-427-8492 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) to report questionable activity. This number is staffed by non-Academy personnel. Reports will be referred to the Chair of the Trustee Audit Committee who, along with the President of the Board, will investigate. Reports will be dealt with promptly and discreetly. The investigation of anonymous reports will necessarily be limited by the inability to consult with the individual who filed the report.

Please note that the Academy Anti-Bullying & Harassment Policy lists additional reporting requirements and protections for those who report bullying and harassing behavior.