Letter to the Editor

3 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor”

  1. Overturning the DC’s decision and expelling a student does not look like “civil discourse” to me. What’s more character building than having to face Mr. Flaska and talk to him after the incident. Clearly a classic case of putting the institution way before the student… a recurring theme in Deerfield and my fundamental problem with the school. I understand that a private school is a business and that other schools run this way, but I challenge you to break this trend and to be about the students rather than Mr. Koch.

  2. I believe that the school did the right thing in dismissing the two students. Respect and integrity are core Deerfield values, and every student is expected to adhere to these principles. The welfare of the school, and its values must always take precedence over those of individual members. Noone sets foot on campus without first fully understanding and accepting this.

    In this instance the school did take into account the welfare of the two students who committed this act, but it had to balance this consideration against the welfare and best interests of the school community. In doing so Deerfield clearly demonstrated that it was “about the students,” namely the vast majority who honor the school’s values. Had the school failed to take stern action in response to this offense respect for the school’s values would have been compromised.

    This is a teachable moment for the Deerfield community, albeit a sad one. I have come to have even greater respect for the school as a result of the Head’s courageous and principled decision.

  3. Given that the Scroll has not reported any real details about this incident–other than that students spray-painted on the Koch center–it is hard to see how it offers a teachable moment to the greater Deerfield community. Please spare us the platitudes and give us the facts (i.e. a story). This is a newspaper for the whole Deerfield community, not a mouthpiece for administrators.

    Vandalism is not acceptable, we can all agree on that. But lots of students make mistakes and are given second chances–why not these students? Again, I don’t have all the information, but unless it’s academic dishonesty (i.e. cheating or plagiarizing) I wouldn’t think expulsion is warranted. Sometimes people learn the most when they are given a second chance.

    In any case, one thing that is not being talked about is the shame and disrespect that comes from Deerfield’s association with David Koch. If you look outside that tiny historic village in western Mass., you would see that Koch Industries is one of the biggest corporate polluters in America. In fact, you only have to go down the road to UMass-Amherst, where you will find Koch Industries as #10 on the list of Toxic 100 Air Polluters:

    And while DA students are studying science at the Koch Center, the Kochs are out there spending millions to fuel climate change denial. (You can read about that in the New Yorker article.)

    If anyone’s integrity should be questioned, it is David Koch’s. If anyone should be kicked out of Deerfield, it is David Koch, the life-time trustee. How does a trustee like David Koch fit with Deerfield’s values and commitment to sustainability?

    Hopefully, there are students who are engaging in this sort of dialogue, even though others at Deerfield may be compromised or would prefer to look the other way. There are a lot of teachable moments here, but as a community we have to start by being honest with ourselves.


    A concerned Deerfield Academy alumnus

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