Deerfield is committed to a safe learning environment, free from all forms of bullying and harassment, where community members treat one another with respect. Our Anti-Bullying and Harassment Policy is central to these efforts. It is designed to promote learning, eliminate all forms of violent, harmful, and disruptive behavior, and to enable students to achieve their personal and academic potential.
Deerfield recognizes that certain students may be more vulnerable to bullying, harassment, hazing, or teasing based on actual or perceived characteristics—including race, color, religion, age, ancestry, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, academic status, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, physical appearance, disability, or any other classification protected under state or federal law—or by association with a person who has or is perceived to have these characteristics. Trained student leaders and in-dorm residential advisors are uniquely positioned to identify and support these members of the school community. All community members will take specific steps to foster a safe, supportive environment. Deerfield will provide students with the knowledge, skills, and strategies to prevent and respond to bullying, hazing, harassment, and teasing.
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. Such conduct shall include whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the weather, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug or other substance, or any other brutal treatment or forced physical activity which is likely to adversely affect the physical health or safety of any such student or other person, or which subjects such student or other person to extreme mental stress, including extended deprivation of sleep or rest or extended isolation.
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section to the contrary, consent shall not be available as a defense to any prosecution under this action.
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.
Deerfield will promptly investigate all reports and complaints of hazing, bullying and harassment and will attempt to end that behavior and prevent its recurrence. These actions may include referral to a law enforcement agency.
Violators of this policy will be subject to disciplinary and/or corrective action designed to end the conduct, prevent its recurrence and to protect the target from future hazing, harassment, bullying, and retaliation.
This policy applies to all students, employees, independent contractors, school volunteers, parents and legal guardians of students, and to Deerfield visitors. It applies to conduct that occurs on school premises or in school-related activities and school-related transportation. It does not apply to conduct that occurs exclusively between employees of Deerfield.
Sexual misconduct is a broad category of prohibited behaviors that includes–but is not limited to–sexual harassment, unwanted touching, and any other nonconsensual sexual behavior.
The offending behavior is uninvited and/or unwanted. It can be subtle and ambiguous as well as direct and overt. It is NOT social or courting behavior.
Sexual harassment may include:
Harassment is any abuse of an individual or group based on race, color, religion, age, ancestry, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, academic status, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, physical appearance, disability, or any other classification protected under state or federal law. It includes both easily-identified acts of oral, written, or physical abuse as well as other less-obvious but equally damaging forms of harassment, such as remarks of “humor” or any behavior that contributes to the creation of a hostile environment in which to live and learn.
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 be treated as disciplinary matters.
Any written or verbal expression, physical acts or gestures directed at another person to intimidate, frighten, ridicule, humiliate, or cause harm where the conduct is not related to the person’s membership in a protected class (e.g., race, sex). Bullying may include – but is not limited to–repeated taunting, threats of harm, verbal or physical intimidation, cyber-bullying, pushing, kicking, hitting, spitting, or taking or damaging another’s personal property. Bullying is a form of aggression that involves a power imbalance between the bully and victim, where the bully has actual or perceived physical, social, and/or psychological power over his/her/their target(s). Bullying generally involves a pattern of conduct that is directed at a victim, rather than a single isolated incident. Bullying behavior may also constitute a crime.
Bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication. It includes—but is not limited to—any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted virtually through electronic means. Cyber-bullying can occur via e-mail, internet communication, social media app, instant message, or any other electronic or network system. It also includes (i) the creation of a web page or blog in which the creator assumes the identify of another person or (ii) the knowing impersonation of another person as the author of posted content or messages, if the creation or impersonation creates any of the conditions noted in the definition of bullying. Cyber-bullying also includes the electronic distribution to more than one person—or posting of material on an electronic medium accessible by one or more persons—if the distribution or posting creates any of the conditions noted in the definition of bullying.
Respect for the rights of all and for the differences among us is essential for the health of the Deerfield community. Discrimination against others has no place here. If members of the Deerfield community experience or witness any discrimination by students or employees, they should report the incident to an employee or the Student Life Office. Such incidents violate the ideals of Deerfield and may be include a disciplinary response.
Any form of intimidation, reprisal, or harassment by a school community member directed against another school community member for reporting or filing a complaint, for aiding or encouraging the filing of a report or complaint, for cooperating in an investigation under this Policy, or for taking action consistent with this Policy.
A person who complains about conduct covered by this Policy; the alleged victim of the conduct.
A person reporting an incident who is a third party and not the victim of the alleged policy violation.
Deerfield will take appropriate steps to protect from retaliation any person who takes action consistent with this Policy or who reports, files a complaint of, or cooperates in an investigation of a violation of this Policy. Threats or acts of retaliation—whether person-to-person, by electronic means, or through third parties—are serious offenses that will subject the violator to disciplinary and/or other corrective action.