Guest Speaker Addresses Healthy Relationships

As part of Deerfield’s continued focus on healthy relationships, dating, sexuality, and consent, educator Cindy Pierce visited campus in late September to talk with all students and faculty. She met separately with the Class of 2019 in the Ninth-Grade Village. Following the meetings, advisory groups gathered to discuss these issues in smaller forums. Cindy also held a webinar for parents in mid-October.

Cindy’s talents as both a social sexuality educator and a comedian enable her to connect with students and adults in a disarmingly frank way on topics of social lives and sexuality. She has been talking to college and high school students and parents for over ten years, making conversations about these challenging and important topics a bit easier.

For further information, Cindy suggested a number of resources for parents including her own book as well as a number of others plus links to informative trailers, videos, articles and TED Talks online. See a list of resources. You’ll also want to explore the Cindy Pierce website, which includes video that samples her presentations.

The conversation on campus is ongoing. A recent series in The Deerfield Scroll on “Intimacy at DA” provides several perspectives: administration, faculty and student. We’ve also shared a video, “Tea Consent”, that simplifies the sexual consent issue with an analogy to offering a cup of tea.

We’re also creating times and spaces for boys and girls to spend time together in informal ways. Each weekend, we offer “Open Dorms”, wherein students can mingle and relax in a casual environment–with faculty supervision but without requesting visitation in pairs or groups. All doors in the designated Open Dorms remain open and all lights are on. Every resident participates.

After some weekend events, we’re also bringing boys and girls together for pizza and downtime before checking in.

In the weeks and months to come, we’ll make initiatives like these an ongoing priority so that Deerfield boys and girls will continue to grow healthy relationships.

Throughout the year, Connect4, School Meetings, inclusion activities, advisory sessions, and Academy Events reinforce a sense of personal responsibility, empathy, and concern for others. High school is a complex and often confusing experience, and Deerfield’s close community serves as a daily source of support and safety for our students. Topics of sexuality and consent are not easy to discuss, but we will continue the conversation on campus and look forward to parent partnership and support.

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