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Prep school disciplinary policy re alerting colleges


Replies to: Prep school disciplinary policy re alerting colleges

  • doschicosdoschicos 25962 replies258 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    It's interesting. I was just reading through Hotchkiss' policies out of curiosity as a one strike, no-chance school. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. The way I read it is:

    - no second chances. Caught drinking or doing drugs on campus, you're gone.

    - no stated policy for off campus behavior but if you return to campus under the influence, you are gone. As long as you do all your partying and recovering from such off campus, looks like you are all good.

    To me this would raise a concern that student partying is being pushed off campus. Very harsh penalties on campus, little to no penalties on campus. Much as I don't like colleges with overbearing on-campus policies because I feel it drives such activity off campus, I think the Hotchkiss policy could potentially have the same effect. Off campus sojourns can lead to things like DUI, greater risks of sexual assault, greater risks of substance related injuries, etc.

    " Is the school going to kick you out because you smoked weed or had a beer while on Christmas break 17 states away?"

    Unless it's a zero strike school, no, they wouldn't kick you out but you'd be on some kind of probation if caught having weed in your system. For alcohol, it would be out of your bloodstream upon your return to campus.
    edited April 2017
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  • Korab1Korab1 334 replies4 threads Member
    edited April 2017
    @psparent If its not spelled out in the parent/student manual then where is it spelled out? This is like the cop pressuring a kid to search a car when they know they don't have any right in the world to do it without consent, so they scare them into consenting even though there's a bale of weed in the trunk.
    edited April 2017
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  • carpoolingmacarpoolingma 776 replies8 threads Member
    Our public schools breathalyze before dances.
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  • Korab1Korab1 334 replies4 threads Member
    @doschicos All good points, but Hotchkiss probably isnt the best example to illustrate your point. Hotchkiss is in Lakeville, CT and kids aren't allowed to have cars there, period. It is pretty difficult to get off campus there. At more suburban/urban schools, I agree, it could drive the conduct underground, which has the potential to be more dangerous.
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  • doschicosdoschicos 25962 replies258 threads Senior Member
    I wonder how many take weekends away of campus, though. Is that a thing? Going into NYC or some lenient parent's house for the weekend? I could imagine that happening for sure. I know the school has Saturday classes so it would make it less doable but still doable.
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  • Korab1Korab1 334 replies4 threads Member
    There is a difference between conditioning admission to a dance on blowing through a tube to confirm your present sobriety v. being ordered to pee in a cup to determine if you have smoked weed in the last 30 days based on an unsubstantiated allegation. Well, it was unsubstantiated until he admitted to the conduct because he knew the test he was being ordered (asked? we will never know, now) to take would be positive.

    A parent's involvement could clarify whether the kid is being asked to submit or ordered to submit, and if ordered, on what basis. I'm sure the school would be a lot less likely to trample on a kid's rights with the parents and their lawyer on the line.
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  • Korab1Korab1 334 replies4 threads Member
    I'm sure it is doable - and that type of conduct cant be policed. Which may be why Hotchkiss doesn't seem to try.
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  • GnarWhailGnarWhail 298 replies17 threads Member
    @Korab1 Yes, I think the question of whether the kid is high at the time is the key. Was the kid in the OP high right then? OP says no. After a search of the room (invasive but pretty routine) finds nothing, if the kid was not high, what reason did the school have to threaten a drug test to make the kid confess besides the threat and making the kid confess? Since we don't have that school's rules in front of us, the drug test might have been an empty threat. And a pretty nasty thing to do.
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  • momof3swimmersmomof3swimmers 389 replies5 threads Member
    This whole discussion has me reading the EBook. They can drug test as they please for "suspicion". Refusing the test is considered an admittance of guilt. End of story.
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  • sunnyschoolsunnyschool 1397 replies31 threads Senior Member
    When did they search OP room and test OP student? Right after arriving back from off-campus, or the next day or ??
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  • suzyQ7suzyQ7 4313 replies60 threads Senior Member
    "OP's DS tested positive and was suspended for breaking a school rule. Some may think the punishment was harsh but he was attending a school where he agreed to abide by these rules. Regardless of how the school found out, the kid broke the rules. "

    Agree that that he broke the rules and should lose his RA job and be in trouble. I totally disagree that if the bad behavior was OFF campus (on an approved off campus trip - following the rules) and it was a first offense, it should not have been reported to colleges.

    Totally agree about the red-shirting issues with boys. At my kids school there are ALOT of repeat freshman boys that are beefing up to be big and fast their junior and senior years... That means they will be 19/20 their senior year. Grown adults... very difficult with all those rules and repercussions at that age.
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  • ChoatieMomChoatieMom 5558 replies265 threads Senior Member
    FWIW. Previous postings indicate that OP's child attended Loomis. From the Loomis Parent and Student Handbooks:
    Philosophically, Loomis is a two-chance school; we firmly believe that students can and do learn from their mistakes, particularly when supported and surrounded by the most influential adults in their lives, namely, their parents, advisors, teachers, coaches, and deans.

    Loomis’ rules and regulations are outlined in great detail in the Student Handbook. You and your child must review these before the start of the year, since your child is accountable for adhering to them. We do want to take this opportunity to outline, in summary the 11 major school rules. Please note, again, that all rules are listed in detail in the Student Handbook and you and your child should review these before the beginning of the school year. These rules are subject to change.

    From the student handbook:
    Rule 3
    Purchasing (or attempting to purchase), using, or possessing alcohol (or empty
    alcohol bottles) or illegal drugs (including unauthorized prescription drugs), abusing
    other potentially mood-altering substances (even if bought legally), or possessing drug

    Disciplinary Response:
    Customarily, two days of work for the school, to be completed on consecutive class
    days as arranged by the student’s dean. The student is placed on Level II status for the
    remainder of the school year at a minimum. The student and his/her parents are
    expected to meet (or discuss by phone if a meeting is not possible) with the student’s
    dean to discuss his/her disciplinary status.

    A student who violates the drug/alcohol rule will be subject to random alcohol and/or
    drug testing for one calendar year following the completion of the two days spent
    working for the school. The student will be tested not more than three times in a term.
    If a student tests positive, he/she will again be in violation of the drug/alcohol rule and
    subject to additional disciplinary action. (Reminder: use of unauthorized prescription
    drugs or misuse of one’s own prescriptions is a violation of school rules.)

    A positive drug test in such circumstances constitutes a major rule violation. A
    student testing positive will be evaluated by one of the counselors and will also be
    required to meet with the school’s consulting psychiatrist for a formal assessment
    (at the parents’ expense). A student will also be required to attend a substance
    abuse educational class for no less than six weeks and will be subject to the
    drug/alcohol testing program for one year.

    1. When a student who has been out of the jurisdiction of the school returns to campus
    showing evidence of having been drinking or using drugs.
    2. When a student’s room or car on campus has alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs in it.
    3. A student may be tested for drug or alcohol use when his or her behavior arouses the
    immediate suspicion of a faculty member. For example:
    a. A student is in a room where illegal substances are present or where it has been
    established that another student in the room has violated the drug/alcohol rule.
    b. A student smells of alcohol or marijuana (verified by two faculty members), or
    exhibits signs of impairment — slurred speech, lack of physical coordination, or
    signs of disorientation.
    c. If a student has been identified as above and refuses to be tested, they will be
    assumed to be under the influence and will be sanctioned.

    Please note: The deans or designated faculty members are authorized to test with a
    Breathalyzer all students who attend school dances.

    4. Transferring (selling or serving as a conduit for the distribution of) any illegal drugs or
    alcohol is considered a grave violation and will usually result in the offending student’s
    required withdrawal from school. However, the Disciplinary Committee could convene to
    consider the case carefully and debate extenuating circumstances. If the student and
    his/her parents waive the right to a Disciplinary Committee review, the student will be
    required to withdraw. Students who keep their places in school following a Disciplinary
    Committee review will be suspended (four-day severance) following the Disciplinary
    Committee hearing.
    5. When an athlete violates training rules by using tobacco, or violates the drugs or alcohol rule,
    he/she will serve a minimum of a one-game suspension.

    If Loomis is, philosophically, a two-chance school, either this was not the student's first offense, or the school did not give him a reasonable second chance. Based on the OP's story, her son clears the conditions listed under Clarifications and seems to have been mistreated based on the handbook rules IMO.
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  • preppedparentpreppedparent 3341 replies10 threads Senior Member
    My heart goes out to you and your son. Kids make mistakes. period. It's a shame that it had to influence college admissions. Every kid deserves a second chance. I knew that these things happen, so I told my 2 students on more than one occasion, to avoid doing anything that would embarrass them or their parents, and or get them dismissed or an honors violation. I told my 2 that Dad and I work hard to send them to school. We're not rich and this opportunity comes with a lot of sacrifices and to let this be their guide for behavior. It's definitely something that every student needs to hear from parents who are working hard to make opportunities available that they never had. These are private schools, and they do what they want.
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  • psparentpsparent 46 replies4 threads Junior Member
    See below. Nothing that happened was contrary to their policies. It just sucked.

    The drug use had occurred the previous day (a Saturday).

    From the Handbook:

    Room search policy: The school reserves the right to search for such items when the
    school has reasonable suspicion that they exist in such locations.

    1. A student may be tested for drug or alcohol use when his or her behavior arouses the reasonable
    suspicion of a faculty member or administrator when credible and specific information gives
    reasonable suspicion that drug or alcohol use or possession has occurred. If a student has been
    identified as having exhibiting such reasonable suspicions and refuses to be tested, the student
    will be assumed to be under the influence and will be sanctioned accordingly.
    2. When an athlete violates training rules by using tobacco, or violates the drugs or alcohol rule, he/she
    will serve a minimum of a one-game suspension.
    3. The deans or designated faculty members are authorized to test with a Breathalyzer all students
    who attend school dances; Breathalzyers may be used at other times, as deemed necessary by the
    dean or director of the Health Center.

    Boarding students live under the school’s jurisdiction from the time they arrive on campus at the beginning of
    a term until the close of the term — except when they are off campus with their parents or legal guardians.
    Students on day or evening permissions remain under the school’s jurisdiction even while off-campus. Day
    students live under the school’s jurisdiction each day when they arrive on campus until they are at home for
    the night. All students are under the school’s jurisdiction when attending a school function; e.g.,
    class trip, sporting event, dorm activity.
    Any students who assist others under the school’s jurisdiction to violate school rules are themselves liable to
    disciplinary action. This includes sponsoring or attending unchaperoned social gatherings for which school
    and parental permission have not been obtained. This may apply to situations in which students are not
    actually under school jurisdiction, and it applies to both boarding and day students.
    Unusual circumstances may arise in which the school might need to extend its authority beyond its usual

    Levels and the college reporting process
    We encourage and expect students to answer questions from colleges about their disciplinary history
    honestly. Depending on an individual college’s stipulations, students may be required to notify colleges to
    which they apply (or have applied to) of Level II or III disciplinary infractions.
    In situations where the college asks about a disciplinary action or disciplinary violation, students who
    have received a Level II or III violation must respond “yes.” Similarly, when asked about having violated
    school rules in a certain area of conduct (i.e., plagiarism or violence toward others) or having a grade
    reduced as a result of academic dishonesty or plagiarism, the student must answer “yes” if he or she has
    had a Level II or III violation for that specific reason.
    The College Office will also answer questions from colleges honestly and will discuss a student’s
    disciplinary history based on these specifications. In all cases, students should consult with their college
    counselor about the reporting of discipline to colleges.
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  • SculptorDadSculptorDad 2269 replies66 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    @psparent I don't know legality of what happened. But as another parent I feel so sorry and angry for such disproportionally harsh punishment.
    edited April 2017
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  • EarlyMTNesterEarlyMTNester 74 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Let's give @psparent's son some credit here for his acceptance of responsibility in dealing with the Dean.

    We should remember the legal posture here. The "accused" is not in police custody, and is not being charged with anything. The school is acting in loco parentis in this situation. So talking about his "rights" and involving lawyers is akin to saying that when an actual parent confronts his or her own actual child with a suspicion of drug use based on something the parent heard from another teenager, the child should respond to his parent "Hey, Mom and Dad, I don't have to answer you until I talk to my lawyer."

    As for the issue of notifying the colleges, this is not any different than any other situation in which an employer or anyone else makes a recommendation. If the recommending party discovers that their recommendation is not fully accurate or needs to be qualified, most people would agree that it is only fair to allow them to issue a qualified recommendation or modify what they previously said about the person.
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  • doschicosdoschicos 25962 replies258 threads Senior Member
    "Let's give @psparent's son some credit here for his acceptance of responsibility in dealing with the Dean."
    Yes, his honesty is commendable plus his not ratting on others.
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  • MAandMEmomMAandMEmom 1736 replies10 threads Senior Member
    I'm copying and pasting this thread and sending it to DD as should everyone reading this. We had this talk several times last summer and DD fully understands that rules MAY be different for different students.
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  • GnarWhailGnarWhail 298 replies17 threads Member
    @EarlyMTNester I would strongly advise actual parents to not trust the school to act in the best interest of their actual children at all times in every case no matter what or when, whether in loco parentis or simply loco, especially when having to do with something as necessarily arbitrary as non-academic discipline. Boarding schools are at their hearts conservative, elite (and elitist) institutions and should always be understood as such.

    @psparent and @ChoatieMom seem to have cited different sections of the rule book and so much depends on the meaning of what constitutes reasonable exhibitions of suspicion.

    Regardless, rules always favor one side. If it was a first time for the cliched good kid, what happened was an atrocity. And since apparently the kid did keep his mouth shut afterwards--as was proper--maybe he learned a lesson the school clowns didn't realize they were teaching.
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  • HMom16HMom16 713 replies18 threads Member
    Kids at Hotchkiss definitely go into NYC, have fake IDs and drink in bars, etc. However, that tends to happen only on breaks, not on a regular weekend. NY is a solid 2 hour train ride away. Kids that want to party on campus go into the surrounding woods or just use prescription drugs. However, the no chance policy is a disincentive to kids. Every year there are a few that get caught drinking and either withdraw or get expelled.
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