Dear Parents and Guardians:
At Concord Academy where we are both a day and a boarding school, we share the responsibility, with you, as parents and guardians, to best support our students in making healthy decisions. Any gatherings must follow current COVID-19 guidelines and practices for Concord Academy students and families.
With this goal in mind, we work in partnership to ensure that students make healthy and appropriate choices, and we all act in accordance with the law, when it comes to parties held during their time at CA. To provide some structure and guidance for these choices, and for our conversations around them, the school has a drug and alcohol policy, which is included in the Community Handbook. We ask that you review it when completing registration.
Additionally, please take a moment to review the following recommendations. These are by no means exhaustive; each conversation is unique to the circumstances presented. We trust that you, with the addition of these guidelines, can have productive conversations with your children and their guests concerning the use of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.
Party Planning & Chaperoning:
Parties and social gatherings are a great way for adolescents to make connections and for parents/guardians to get to know their children's friends. We support and encourage student connections that build relationships and promote a healthy sense of belonging. In the past all of these connections have occurred in person, yet with our ever changing world, we are seeing the need to make connections virtually as well. Please consider these guidelines in whatever social gathering may be occurring.
We ask that you be in contact with the school and other parents/guardians to confirm the party details and a parental presence. We believe that parent-to-parent communication is key in guiding students to make positive, healthy decisions. With all parents communicating with each other, such phone calls become the norm, rather than the exception.
We encourage hosts to have a guest list and a maximum number to invite. In the event any of your guests are boarding students, we ask that you share the guest list with the Student Life Office. If any guest’s plans change, we ask you to be in contact with their parent/guardian or a house faculty member to confirm the change in plans. We have learned that a change in plans is often a way to end up at a party that is unchaperoned.
All hosts must be 25 years or older to chaperone. (Note, this does not include college students, young adults, and au pairs, who should never be the sole adult presence for a party).
We encourage you to greet guests and require them to remain at the party location.
Be unobtrusive yet visible. Bringing food and beverages into the party area will allow you to check out the situation. You may expect your child not to welcome this but it’s your job as the chaperone to supervise the safety of your guests.
If a host says that they will take away your child’s keys, we recommend that you not let your child attend the party. "Key parties" are parties where teens are asked to hand over their car keys when they arrive, the expectation being that they will be drinking or becoming impaired and will not be physically able to drive.
Model appropriate behavior for our children. Do not use substances, drink alcoholic beverages, or serve them to your fellow chaperones at the party.
Social Host Liability: What Every Parent Needs to Know
Beyond Concord Academy’s policies, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has a clearly defined social host liability law. The legislation refers to criminal and civil liability of homeowners as social hosts. According to this law, providing or permitting alcohol to be consumed by minors in the comfort and privacy of their home is illegal. While we recognize that not all cultures or families may agree, as a school we are required to remind parents of this statute.
We believe that one of the most effective strategies for developing healthy attitudes about alcohol is to help students delay using it. Numerous studies have shown that the older a person is when they drink alcohol socially, the healthier their relationship with alcohol will be, and the fewer alcohol-related problems that person will have.
In issues relating to drugs and alcohol it does indeed “take a village to raise a child.” Concord Academy expects that all parents, guardians and students will join together to uphold the policies of the school and to fulfill the compact that we have with each other to ensure our children are safe and making appropriate choices.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to be in touch.
Dean of Students