Concord Academy’s rules grow out of the school’s mission statement which supports love of learning, the importance of striving for equity, with common trust as our foundation. The school leaves many rules unstated, assuming the honesty and good judgment of its students as part of its ethos.
Rules at Concord Academy have evolved over time to protect individual students and the community from behavior that is not healthy or safe. Concord Academy’s rules attempt to foster the cohesion and morale of the community and enhance education by discouraging impediments to learning. We expect students to support the work of the school, to accept the obligations of loyal cooperation among all members of the school community, and to show respect for themselves and others. Actions that undermine common aspirations, violate the rights of individuals, or repudiate the principles of the school’s mission will not be tolerated.
The harassment policy and grievance procedures are outlined in the Appendices of this handbook. Protocols for incidents of sexual assault are located in the Student Life Office, included in house faculty notebooks, and posted in each student house.
Concord Academy holds students responsible for behavior considered detrimental to the reputation of the school during activities on or off campus. Conduct that violates the law or reflects badly upon the school is sufficient grounds for disciplinary action, including dismissal, regardless of whether the conduct involved a day student or a boarding student, took place on campus or off campus, or occurred while school was in session or on break.
Integrity in all matters, personal and academic, is expected of each student. Academic integrity means the school expects all students to act honestly in every part of their academic lives. Academic dishonesty or any act of academic deception is a serious breach of the school's academic standards. Concord Academy strives to educate students about plagiarism, the act of claiming someone else’s work as your own. “Work” in this context includes someone else’s ideas or thinking presented in any medium. Please refer to the Appendices for the complete policy regarding Academic Integrity.
Truthfulness, even in the face of social pressure, is one of the core values of the school. Lying compromises trust within the community and any situation in which a student lies to an adult in the community is considered a major offense.
Students are expected to respect community property and the property of others. Therefore, stealing and willful destruction of or damage to the property of others, including school property, undermines the quality of trust within the community and will result in disciplinary action.
Borrowing an item means that the rightful owner is asked for permission and gives their consent freely in advance of the item’s use. A situation will be considered a breach of trust if a person has come into possession of an item that is not theirs by any means other than borrowing.
All boarding students must sign out from their houses, as required. Conscious deception or negligence of sign-out procedures, or leaving a student house after check-in, is a major offense. See Boarding Rules for complete sign-out procedures.
4.03 Alcohol, nicotine/tobacco, and other drugs
The school’s primary interest regarding alcohol and other drugs is to help students avoid their use, and to maintain health and well-being. The school considers any recreational use of alcohol or other drugs—whether on or off campus, by day students or by boarding students—to be subject to the school’s disciplinary code.
No student may buy, sell, provide, possess, or use alcohol, unauthorized drugs, or improperly use prescription medication while under the jurisdiction of the school, nor may they be in possession of drug or alcohol paraphernalia. Vaporizers, including vape devices and e-cig systems, constitute drug paraphernalia.
Additionally, no student may return to the school’s jurisdiction under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The possession of an identification card with a false birth date indicating a student is over twenty-one years of age will be treated as both an integrity violation and a drug and alcohol violation, as it demonstrates intent to purchase age-restricted substances.
Any student who remains in the presence of an open violation of the school’s drug and alcohol policy while on campus is also subject to disciplinary procedures, even if they have not used the substances involved. The school expects that students will remove themselves from such situations. A student who remains in the presence of an alcohol or drug violation off campus may be subject to a health intervention, although no disciplinary procedures will result for that student.
Concord Academy realizes that the abuse of alcohol or other drugs can represent immediate threats to the physical health and safety of its students. The primary concern of the school in such cases is the welfare of the student. All students are encouraged to seek help from an adult within the community or a peer when it is necessary to remove a fellow student from a potentially dangerous situation. Please see the Appendices for the complete Sanctuary Policy for Alcohol and Drugs.
The school will, through its health center and student support services, facilitate engagement with counseling programs, and support and intervention services for students who encounter problems with alcohol or other drugs.
A student may request the assistance of the Health Center to disclose past violation of a school rule, including use of alcohol or drugs. This admission will be treated as a health concern and not a disciplinary situation. When the school has reason to be concerned that a student might be using alcohol or drugs, it will strive to persuade the student to seek counseling voluntarily and, if appropriate, will mandate an alcohol or drug evaluation. The assistance of the student’s parents in this endeavor will be solicited.
In the event of a disciplinary case in which a student is found to have been involved in the use of or supplying alcohol or other drugs, they will appear before the Discipline Committee. The Discipline Committee considers students found to be supplying alcohol or drugs or hosting gatherings at which alcohol or drugs are consumed to have greater culpability, and the discipline recommendation to the head of school will reflect this view.
A student given an opportunity to return to school following a drug or alcohol violation will be placed on probation for a length of time determined by the discipline committee, which is often to then end of their CA career. If found guilty by a Discipline Committee for a subsequent violation of the school’s drug and alcohol policy, they will likely be dismissed.
The school expects that students will reflect on their personal responsibilities relative not only to the drug and alcohol policy, but also to all major school rules. Concord Academy requires all students to strive to live the mission of the school both in and out of the classroom.
4.04 Sexual Intimacy
Concord Academy affirms and values the development of healthy romantic and sexual relationships as part of adolescence. As a boarding school, however, there are some unique considerations that lead CA to prohibit intimate sexual activity on campus. Those considerations include but are not limited to:
- Members of the community, both students and adults alike, should be free from unwanted exposure to the intimate and sexual behaviors of others on school property and grounds.
- Respect for others in our diverse community who may have different values and beliefs around sexuality.
- We recognize the importance of promoting and maintaining students' reproductive health, including the prevention of sexually transmitted infections and pregnancies.
- The School is aware of the serious physical, emotional, social, and legal consequences that can result from intimate sexual contact between young people. Therefore, the school strongly encourages students to delay sexual activity.
Accordingly, students found engaging in intimate sexual behavior on campus will face an institutional response after discussion with the dean of students.
Common Trust is essential to the foundation of the Mission of Concord Academy. It is a belief that we as members of the community will be treated with respect and dignity in all of our interactions with each other. Affirmative Consent is an extension of that ideal: an understanding that students who choose to engage in sexual activity, being mindful of the potential risks, are doing so in a knowing, voluntary and mutual way regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Consent must be a verbal and positive response. Silence, lack of resistance, or pressuring someone until they say yes do not constitute consent. Consent cannot be given if someone is impaired by alcohol or other drugs, is asleep, or is under the age of 16 in the state of Massachusetts. Behavior agreed to on one occurrence does not count as consent for any future encounters.
If a student has experienced or is aware of any sexual activity without consent, can speak with any adult on campus who will then be in contact with the director of health services. The school is a mandated reporter under Massachusetts State Law and will report all inappropriate sexual behavior to the Department of Children and Families (DCF).
4.06 Reckless Endangerment
Students may not engage in reckless acts that expose others or themselves to an obvious risk of self injury. For instance, going out on the roofs of school buildings is a violation of this rule.
4.07 Threats, Violence, Weapons, and dangerous substances
Students are expected at all times to maintain a safe environment for themselves as well as others. Violence or the threat of violence will result in immediate action by the school, including notification of appropriate law enforcement agencies. Threats involving or possession of weapons or dangerous substances—including, but not limited to any firearm, knife, other weapon, fireworks or other dangerous item or substance— whether on or near campus or at or near any school-related function or event, will subject the student to disciplinary action, up to and including immediate dismissal. Similar consequences will apply to any student who aids or facilitates another student’s acquisition or possession of weapons or dangerous substances.
4.08 Computer Use
Students who do not comply with the School’s Acceptable Use Policy as defined in this handbook are in violation of a major school rule. Please refer to the appendices for additional information.
4.09 Harassment and Discrimination
All members of the community have the basic right not to be harassed. The school recognizes and respects individual differences in background with regard to culture, race, ethnic origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation and physical disabilities. Inappropriate behavior, either verbal, written, or physical that demeans or offends others is unacceptable. It includes unwelcome sexual advances, unwarranted verbal remarks, derogatory statements or discriminatory comments, and can occur between two individuals or groups of individuals. Please refer to the Appendices for additional information.
4.10 Bullying and Hazing
Concord Academy adheres to Massachusetts state law (M.G.L. c.71, § 37O) that regard bullying and hazing as a crime. Note, however, that the school reserves the right to take disciplinary action with respect to any form of bullying, cyberbullying, or retaliation, regardless of whether the conduct meets the formal, legal definition of those terms. Please refer to the Appendices for additional information.