River Safety

Access to the river is permitted only during daylight hours and at the discretion of Campus Security. The river may be declared “Off Limits” at any time via a notification placed at the top of the Bulletin.


  • Check the Bulletin to ensure that the river has not been declared “Off Limits”
  • Only competent swimmers should enter the water.
  • Note the location of the life ring at the river’s shore.
  • Use the “buddy system” at all times.
  • Be aware of water depths, floating and submerged debris, strong currents, and inclement weather.
  • Wear life jackets when using watercraft.


All students must submit their mobile phone numbers for inclusion in the Academy’s emergency notification system—and should store the Security phone number (413-772-9880) in their contact lists for quick access.

Upon receiving an emergency notification—via text, email, or any other medium—students must immediately comply with instructions and procedures.

Students should familiarize themselves with emergency procedures posted in all dormitories, classrooms, and campus buildings—and they should take note of the location of emergency equipment and exits.

In the event of an emergency, call Security 413-772-9880 first, before dialing 911.

Sexual Intimacy

Students are asked to treat one another with respect and to exercise thoughtful and appropriate decision-making in all their relationships. Deerfield discourages sexual intimacy among its students and prohibits sexual intimacy for children under the age of 14. Deerfield reserves the right to discretion in responding to violations of this policy.

Responses to incidents of consensual sexual intimacy—including undress—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, meetings with advisors and discussions with parents/guardians. Repeated disregard for the Sexual Intimacy Policy may be grounds for a 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

In any sexual activity, students are expected to adhere to expectations—and laws—regarding consent, which is defined as clear, unequivocal actions or words that represent agreement to engage in a specific sexual activity. “Yes means yes” is our recommended guideline. Consent must be offered throughout an encounter and can be revoked at any time. Consent to one act on one occasion does not constitute consent for that act at any time in the future. Consent cannot be obtained by threat, coercion, or force. Sexual activity with an incapacitated person is never consensual.

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.

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 or the Dean of Students. 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 peer 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, that student may face a disciplinary response for their actions regardless of Sanctuary status.

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 will be required to inform their parents/guardians. In addition, they will undergo an assessment by a licensed, independent drug and alcohol counselor, at the parent’s/guardian’s expense. Two follow-up meetings with a member of the counseling staff will also be required.

If follow-up drug/alcohol assessments indicate that the student has a dependence on or addiction to alcohol or drugs, the primary and sole focus of intervention will be medical support and recovery. If the Health Center cannot support the students’ medical needs and/or is significantly concerned about their health and safety within a boarding school environment, additional outside resources and/or a Medical Leave 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 be required any time a student is found in possession of a vaporizer or other drug-/tobacco-/nicotine-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 Director of Medical Services, who will then share them with the Dean of Students.
  • 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 students 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 Director of Medical Services, who will then share them with the Dean of Students.
  • 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 or Counseling staff becomes concerned about the possible abuse of drugs or alcohol, the Director of Medical Services may require testing for drugs or alcohol including a baseline test and prospective, random testing.
  • Parents/Guardians will be notified of such testing, but it does not require their consent.
  • 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 result in a Medical Leave.

Extended Leave and Separation

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. Such 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.

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 severe depression, suicidality, or eating disorders. A Medical Leave can be voluntary or required. The Director of Medical Services convenes a Leave Committee, consisting of the Assistant Head of School for Student Life or the Dean of Students, the 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 Director of Medical Services, psychologist and/or counselor will work with the family and, when appropriate, the student’s healthcare providers 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 the Director of Medical Services in consultation with the Director of Counseling and 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 reasonable and 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, Director of Medical Services, 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.

Health Pledge Separation

Repeated violations of Deerfield’s Community Health Pledge—regardless of intent—pose considerable risk and will likely be handled by the Dean of Students and/or Class Dean in consultation with advisor, faculty resident, teachers, and/or cocurricular supervisor. In some instances, repeated violations may result in separation from campus for a period of time.

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; repeated parking violations will result in revocation of driving privileges and/or other disciplinary response.

Bicycles, Scooters, and other Personal Transportation Devices (PTDs)

Any student who wishes to operate a powered or motorized personal transportation device—including ebikes, electronic scooters, one-wheels, and hoverboards—on campus must first receive approval from the Student Life Office.

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. Close windows, open 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. 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 two x three feet.
  • Four “uncovered” paper decorations (maximum size two x three 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.


  • 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 Applicances

  • Electrical appliances for cooking or heating (including sunlamps, hotpots, coffee makers, or space heaters) are not permitted in student rooms, corridors, bath rooms, 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.
  • LED string lights are permitted.
  • 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.

Anonymous Reporting

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 TEST OF Mistreatment, Bullying, and Harassment lists additional reporting requirements and protections for those who report bullying and harassing behavior.