Gender at Deerfield

Deerfield welcomes and seeks to affirm students of all genders. Gender Support and Gender Communication Plans, which outline options available to gender non-conforming and gender-expansive students, are available in dorms, the Health Center, and with advisors.

We aim to treat students according to their gender identity and to apply policies accordingly. Acknowledging the constraints of our remaining gender-binary structures, the Academy strives to make thoughtful and supportive accommodations for gender non-conforming and gender-expansive people.



The Academy places great emphasis on class attendance. We assume that students who come to Deerfield do so with purpose and that they will be conscientious in meeting all obligations. Families should not schedule medical appointments, vacations, visits, or other events that conflict with academic commitments, assessments, or standardized testing.

If a teacher is detained or not in class, students should wait for 10 minutes past the normal start time of the class and then report the faculty absence to the Dean of Faculty.

The 20% Rule

When, for any reason (excused or unexcused), a student has missed 20% or more of the meetings for a given course, during a given term, Deerfield may withhold credit for the course for that term or may compel the student to move to pass-fail status for the term. (Pass-fail status is determined by the Academic Dean’s Office and cannot be initiated through student or family request.)

When, for any reason, excused or unexcused, a student missing more than 20% of all course meetings during a given term, Deerfield may require that student to go on leave until the beginning of the subsequent academic year. No academic credit is granted for the term in question.


Students must adhere to the published term-end schedule. The Academic Dean’s Office will accommodate conflicts for illnesses, medical issues, or emergencies as determined by the Health Center and Student Life Office. Requests for changes to the term-end schedule for personal convenience will not be approved. All term-end travel arrangements must be made to align with the completion of each term: after Friday at noon.

Day Students

If a day student must be absent due to illness, a parent or guardian must notify the Health Center prior to 8:30 am. Absences for any other reason should be communicated directly to the Student Life Office.

Attendance Taken

All teachers submit daily online reports of student absences; they take attendance only and do not assign or excuse Accountability Points. Faculty cannot adjust attendance or eliminate APs—even when there is certainty that the absence will be excused. The Student Life Office determines which absences are excused; errors and/or requests for clearance must be submitted to the Class Dean within three school days of the absence.

Excused Absences

Medical Excuses for Classes, Meals, or Other Required Events

If students are too sick to go to class, sit-down meal, or another required activity, they must arrive at the Health Center at the beginning of the timeframe for which they wish to be excused for medical reasons. If a class is missed, students should inform the teachers that they were in the Health Center. If unable to complete or to hand in any graded assignment when medically excused from class, students should notify their teachers as soon as possible to acknowledge that assignments will be late and to clarify when assignments can be completed. Students who miss class due to illness may not participate in their cocurricular activities that day, except at the clinical discretion of the Director of Medical Services. Other considerations include:

  • Students ill enough to miss the majority of their classes should expect to spend the night in the Health Center.
  • Students ill enough to miss at least one class, two days in a row, should expect to spend the night in the Health Center.
  • Students sick enough to miss any class on Friday should expect to spend Friday night in the Health Center.

Medical Excuses for Co-Curricular Activities

Sick or injured students may be excused from cocurricular activities only by a school nurse or physician. In such cases, students are expected to communicate with their cocurricular supervisors. In certain cocurricular activities where the unexpected absence of a student may create a hardship for the group, it is important that the student notify the appropriate adult in a timely fashion. Failure to notify the adult before the beginning of the cocurricular time period may result in invalidation of the medical excuse, and the student may receive Accountability Points

College Visits and Non-Medical Excuses

Students are permitted to miss a combined total of five class days for college visits, approved Pursuits of Excellence, or other commitments approved by the Student Life Office.

Juniors and seniors are encouraged to schedule college visits during the summer or other school vacation times. The Academy allows seniors to miss class days—of the total five—to visit colleges. Requests require approval from the student’s college advisor and Class Dean; requests should be submitted at least three days in advance by selecting “College Visit” in the electronic signout system. (Please note that choosing this option will automatically create an Overnight Permission request, if applicable, so students do not need to submit a separate form.)

Persuit of Excellence

Attendance in class is essential to individual academic success and community health. However, when appropriate opportunities to pursue excellence arise, Deerfield may allow students to miss class.

To be eligible to petition for Pursuit of Excellence, students must:

  • Remain in good academic standing;
  • Maintain solid citizenship, including strong attendance;
  • Demonstrate extraordinary accomplishment in their areas of excellence; and
  • Receive invitations to pursue extraordinary opportunities.

In petitioning, students must establish:

  • Ways an event furthers their development of excellence;
  • What they have done to qualify for the opportunity;
  • That the opportunity has resulted from a rigorous selection process; and
  • That there is no way to engage in the opportunity without missing school.

Interested students should petition by selecting “Pursuit of Excellence” in the electronic signout system. (Please note that choosing this option will automatically create an Overnight Permission request, if applicable, so students do not need to submit a separate form.) The form should be completed as soon as an opportunity arises and no later than three days prior to the event; late submissions will result in four or more APs. A subcommittee of the Curriculum Committee reviews all petitions. The Office of the Academic Dean notifies students of decisions and, when petitions are approved, notifies classroom teachers. Students are expected to make up all missed work without requesting extra help from teachers.

Other Requests to Miss Classes

If students must miss classes for unavoidable commitments (e.g. job interview, funeral, wedding, etc.), they should request permission by selecting “Request to Miss Classes” in the electronic signout system. (Please note that choosing this option will automatically create an Overnight Permission request, if applicable, so students do not need to submit a separate form.) The form should be completed as early as possible; late submissions may result in four or more APs.

Religious Observances

Students missing classes or assignments for religious observances should inform teachers in advance. Teachers should set a reasonable schedule for completion of assignments and/or assessments. When students have multiple assessments during a period of religious obligation, a staggered set of due dates in the days following a holiday may be required. This policy does not apply to holidays that fall on a single day of the weekend.

Dress Code

The dress code is a shared experience and an everyday practice that signals seriousness of purpose and mutual respect within our community. It promotes understanding of the often-unwritten rules for the adjustment of attire based on setting. Dress code represents a standard of formality while providing room for personal expression and inclusion of our diverse identities and cultures.

Deerfield employees are expected to hold students to these guidelines; when students are reminded that they are out of dress code, they are expected to comply quickly and respectfully with the faculty/staff member’s request to change into appropriate attire.

We are eager to support students whose cultural, religious, and gender identities extend beyond our current dress code. In addition, the Academy is ready to support students for whom the dress code imposes undue financial burden. Advisors and members of the Student Life Office are available to discuss alternatives and accommodations.

Formal Dress for Fall and Spring Terms:

All Deerfield students must wear:

  • A blazer or sportcoat (with lapel)
  • An appropriate top
    • Collared shirt
    • Blouse
    • Dress
  • An appropriate bottom layer
    • Pants
    • Shorts
    • Skirt
    • Dress

Additional Requirements:

Boys are required to wear neckties with a collared shirt, tucked in; golf shirts may not be worn with a tie. T-shirts and athletic tops may not serve as blouses.

Bottom layers should be of a length that supports full and comfortable participation in all school-day activities. Leggings and tights may be worn as a bottom layer, if paired with shorts, skirts, or dresses.

Clothing inconsistent with a formal academic atmosphere is not permitted: this includes blue denim pants, denim jackets of any color, sweatpants, yoga pants, crop tops, athletic attire, and hooded tops.

Hats are not to be worn in academic buildings or in the Dining Hall at any time, except as part of a student’s religious or cultural tradition.

All students are expected to adhere to basic standards of hygiene and grooming. Neatly-trimmed facial hair is permitted.

Formal Dress must be worn (not carried) in the Dining Hall and in all academic buildings during the entire class day—regardless of individuals’ schedules.

Formal Dress may also be required on occasions designated by the Head of School or the Assistant Head of School for Student Life.

Winter Term: Casual Dress

While our Formal Dress serves to promote the principles above, we also recognize the practical challenges students and employees face as they strive to uphold dress code and maintain Deerfield’s rigorous pace of life, particularly in the winter.

To assist with these challenges, we adopt a different standard of dress in the winter. During the timeframe between the end of Winter Break and the start of Spring Term, dress for all classes and meals (except Sunday dinner, which requires Formal Dress) shall be “Casual Dress.” Students are asked simply to dress appropriately; torn or ripped garments and athletic apparel—including sweatpants and yoga pants—are prohibited. Leggings and tights may be worn if paired with shorts, skirts, or dresses. Clothing choices should allow full and comfortable participation in all school-day activities.

Free Dress

After the class day is over, for athletics travel, during end-of-term examination periods, and on vacation travel days, students’ clothing choices are unrestricted.

Sit-Down Meals & Dining Hall Guidelines

Students Should Arrive on Time

  • Upon arrival at the Dining Hall, students should wait in the lobby until the four main doors to the dining room are opened.
  • Anyone wishing to use the salad bar must do so before the start of the sit-down meal.
  • Students should be at their tables before the Director of the Dining Hall begins the meal. At this time, all motion in the Dining Hall stops; if not at a table, students should stop and remain still.
  • Most tables have one faculty member and nine students, including one (or two) day student(s). If the capacity of the table is exceeded (e.g. guests), the table head may excuse a student to eat at another table in the Dining Room—rather than eating downstairs.

Students Should Exercise Good Manners

  • No one should begin to eat until everyone at the table has been served.
  • No one should eat and talk at the same time.
  • Food should be passed around—not across—the table.
  • Use “please” and “thank you.”
  • Take one serving at a time.
  • Whoever finishes a dish or beverage should offer to replenish it.
  • Students should request permission to leave the table for any reason.
  • Be thoughtful and considerate; conversations at the table should be of general interest.

Students Should be Dressed Appropriately

  • Sweaters and sport coats may not be removed unless the Director of the Dining Hall grants permission.
  • Second waiters may remove their sweaters/sport coats when performing waiting duties.

Waiting, Kitchen Duties

All students take turns waiting tables in the Dining Hall during sit-down meals. Students typically serve as waiters for at least two table rotations a year. Each lasts approximately three to four weeks. If, for any reason, your dietary needs or preferences conflict with waiting or kitchen duties, please speak with your table head or the Director of the Dining Hall.

Guidelines for waiters are as follows:

  • First waiters should arrive approximately fifteen minutes before the start of the meal.
  • First waiters are responsible for setting and bringing food to the table.
  • Second waiters are responsible for clearing the table after the main course and dessert.
  • Dinner plates may be passed, individually, around the table to the waiter.
  • Plates should not be scraped at the dining table; scraping should occur at the waiter stand.
  • If a waiter is not present for any reason, or cannot wait, the next student on the table roster is the substitute.

Waiting, Kitchen Duties

  • The downstairs dining hall (the Parker Room) is only for people not assigned to an upstairs table.
  • Student dining hall crews may eat in the Parker Room before starting their work assignments.

Possession, Use of Tobacoo

Students are not permitted to use or possess tobacco or nicotine of any kind in any form. If a student violates these rules:

  • The first offense will result in a Letter of Reprimand, seven hours of work detail, and a follow-up with the Health Center to review the health implications of tobacco/nicotine use and to assess current impact.
  • A second offense will result in a Disciplinary Committee hearing.

Deerfield is a smoke-free campus. Guests may not smoke or use vaporizers anywhere on Academy grounds. Deerfield hosts should monitor their guests’ adherence to this rule.

Students found to have used nicotine will thereafter be tested exclusively for that substance in accordance with the Academy’s prospective testing policy.

Cell Phones

Students with cell phones are required to provide their numbers to the Academy for the emergency notification system. Failure to do so will result in Accountability Points.

Students are required to be present, responsive, and available to others. “Heads down,” or engrossing activities (calls, games, Snapchat, text) are not permitted while walking the campus or at any time when in the presence of others except in dormitories, the Greer, the Fitness Center, the Day Student Lounge, and the Koch Café. While not prohibited, we encourage students to apply this same “heads up” standard to the use of headphones and earbuds.

All cell phone use in the Dining Hall is prohibited—including the lobby and Parker Room, even during walk-through meals. (Students should leave their phones in their school bags during meals.) Use of cell phones during community gatherings (e.g. school meetings, performances, and Academy Events) is also prohibited.

Students must respect requests to remove cell phones from situations where privacy is a concern, particularly locker-rooms and bathrooms, faculty residences, the Health Center, and others’ dorm rooms.

Additionally, it is expected that all students carry their cell phones with them when traveling beyond Old Main Street of Deerfield.

Inappropriate use of a cell phone may result in a one-day confiscation. Repeated infractions can result in longer confiscations.

Student Activities

Taking Advantage

As a community, our emphasis on character and mutual respect makes the concept of “taking advantage of someone” an unacceptable behavior. Behaviors that harm others, hinder others’ access to opportunity, or provide an unfair advantage in competitive situations are examples of this type of behavior and are unacceptable.

Fundraising, Sales, and Gambling

The Academy maintains relationships with several not-for-profit organizations and limits on-campus fundraising efforts only to those organizations. Academy resources—including Deerfield’s name, photographs, slogans, logos, websites, and printing/mailing facilities—should not be used to fundraise for other organizations.

Only approved clubs and cocurricular groups may conduct sales and fundraise on campus; all fundraising and sales activities, including those conducted by and for individual students, require approval of the Student Life Office—and both approval and supervision of the club/cocurricular advisor. Gambling for money is prohibited.

Clubs and Groups

Approved clubs at Deerfield, registered with the Student Life Office, can receive important benefits, such as:

  • permission to conduct fundraising activities
  • ability to reserve meeting spaces
  • promotional assistance
  • support for supplies, food, and transportation
  • assistance in sponsoring events such as documentaries, feature films, and outside speakers
  • permission to distribute publications
  • permission to schedule items on the Academy calendar

Groups that do not register as clubs do not have these permissions and benefits.

Registered clubs must have open meetings and at least one school-affiliated advisor.

Student publications of any kind must be reviewed and approved by a club advisor before publication and distribution.

Exclusive or secret societies are not permitted. Any student who belongs to an exclusive or secret society will be required to resign from any leadership position at the Academy and may face disciplinary action.

Use of Academy Resources

Logos, Photos, and Other Intellectual Property

Students must request permission from the Communications Office for any use of Deerfield Academy’s name, logo, seal, photographs, or other official materials.

Locked Doors

Secured external doors (including fire exits) may not be used by a student except during a drill or emergency. Tampering with the locked doors may lead to disciplinary action.


Students who misuse technology resources are subject to disciplinary action. While it is impossible to delineate all the inappropriate uses of computing systems, common sense and respect for others are paramount.

Misuse of computers, the school’s network, or other information resources including—but not limited to—anonymous postings, inappropriate use of social networks, apps, and mobile devices, may violate school rules and can constitute a breach of integrity. Examples of misuse of technology include but are not limited to the following:

  • Gaining unauthorized access to any computer or computer system
  • Tampering with any files or data stored on an individual computer or on the network
  • Use of computer or network resources to the extent that it limits others’ access
  • Possession and/or sharing of inappropriate or offensive material
  • Vandalism of computer hardware including theft, damage or disfigurement, and manipulation of computer software, especially when this impedes the academic work of others

 The Laptop Use Agreement and the Acceptable Use Policy further govern student usage of computers and technology on campus.


In fairness to other users and out of respect for the institution, library materials must be recognized as common and vital property of an academic community. Hence, all rules concerning the checking out of circulating materials and limitations on journals, magazines, newspapers, and reference materials must be observed. Any action that unfairly limits access to library resources or any willful defacement or destruction of library materials is a breach of academic integrity.


Purposeful destruction or damage to school property or the property of any individual will not be tolerated. Included in this rule is the expectation that students will respect others’ personal space and belongings.

Please note: Any postings on campus must include the name of the author and, if different, the person posting.

Common Room & Dormitory Room Guidelines

Common Rooms and Shared Spaces

Particularly in shared spaces, students should be aware of and receptive to the feelings and needs of others. Some activities can be isolating or offensive (regardless of intent) and may create an unwelcome or threatening environment. For example, misogynist themes and racially-charged language are pervasive in some video games and music. Requests from others to adjust behavior should be respected.

Empty or Open Rooms

On occasion, dormitories may contain rooms that are unassigned, empty, or await the return of a student who is away. Such rooms are off-limits

Dormitory Room Guidelines

  • The following items are not permitted in student rooms: refrigerators, televisions, projectors, 3D printers, laser cutters, offensive posters/pictures, references to drugs and alcohol, and pets (except fish).
  • Furniture provided by the Academy must remain in student rooms; requests for removal may be made to the Student Life Office.
  • Desk chairs are an exception: they may be removed from student rooms if they are replaced with fire-code-compliant alternatives. To request removal of an unused desk chair, contact the Student Life Office.
  • Beds may not be dismantled nor may they be elevated on desks and bureaus.
  • When rooms are unoccupied, all lights should be turned off.

Gaming Systems and Monitors

  • Ninth Graders must store gaming systems with faculty residents. Use is restricted to weekends, in common rooms only.
  • Tenth Graders must store gaming systems with faculty residents. Use is restricted to weekends, in common rooms and individual dorm rooms.
  • For Juniors and Seniors, possession of gaming systems in individual dormitory rooms is allowed but strongly discouraged, as it tends to prevent effective study habits for the student(s) who live(s) there.
  • All students should understand that possession of large monitors (beyond 27”) and gaming consoles can turn dorm rooms into social spaces, inviting frequent distractions and difficult conversations with friends.

Guests, Service Providers, and Family Visits

Students wishing to host guests who are unaffiliated with the Academy must first obtain permission from their Class Dean or the School Officer in Charge (SOC). Students are responsible for ensuring that their guests comply with Academy rules and guidelines.

Families visiting dormitories should contact Security (not faculty residents) for access; doors should not be propped or held open.

Service providers (e.g. cleaners, hair stylists, aestheticians, masseurs, photographers) are not permitted in dormitories at any time.

Students should notify Security if they observe unfamiliar persons inside dormitories.

End of Workday and Adult Availability

Students should acknowledge that most Academy employees work Monday-Friday, from approximately 9am-4pm. Students should not expect responses to requests of administrative departments or other campus services outside of these times.

After 4 pm, the Academy clearly defines which employees are on-duty and available to students. Students should consult the duty-rosters available on the Bulletin  and should respect the boundaries of those employees who are not on duty.

At all times, the current School Officer in Charge (SOC) is listed on the duty roster and can be reached by email and phone. In addition, Security can be contacted at any time.