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 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.