4.0 Major Rules
Concord Academy’s rules grow out of the school’s mission statement which supports love of learning, a diversity of perspectives, and common trust. 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 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 parent 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. CA considers any conduct prejudicial to the best interests of the school as 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.
4.01 Alcohol 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 or unauthorized drugs while under the jurisdiction of the school nor may they be in possession of drug or alcohol paraphernalia. Additionally, no student may return to the school’s jurisdiction under the influence of alcohol or unauthorized 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 Other 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 of 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.
The school may choose to suspend a student with probation if and only if the student, with the cooperation of their parents, is willing to undergo an alcohol or drug evaluation by a third party and to pursue the resulting recommendations for treatment. The school must be kept informed of the treatment plan and progress. The student’s parents will be responsible for payment for the evaluation and treatment. In addition, the student will be subject to random drug and alcohol testing for 12 months following the Discipline Committee decision. For more details, see Appendix D: Policy for Drug Testing. A student given an opportunity to return to school following a drug or alcohol violation will also be placed on probation for the remainder 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.
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 the Appendices for complete sign-out procedures.
4.04 Tobacco Use
Due to the obvious health risks, students are prohibited from smoking, vaping, or chewing tobacco products. A student who is caught smoking, vaping, or using other tobacco products will be subject to a combined health and disciplinary response. The student, in the presence of an administrator and the student’s advisor, will be required to inform their parents. Any student who fails to comply with this policy will appear before the Discipline Committee. A violation of this sort may lead to a suspension. Students who smell heavily of tobacco products will be referred to the early-response process. Illegal use of tobacco, or the burning of incense or other combustibles in any school building, is considered a major disciplinary offense.
4.05 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.
- Understanding that sexual relationships in early adolescence have a potential for causing emotional difficulties, we strongly encourage the delay of sexual intimacy.
Accordingly, students found engaging in intimate sexual behavior on campus will face an institutional response after discussion with the acting director of student life.
The Covenant of Common Trust is essential to the core 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 is not consenting. 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 they 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).