On January 5, a policy was instituted allowing boarding seniors, with permission from their parents, to drive with senior day students after January 19. The policy has been granted almost every year after Student Council submits a formal proposal for review by the deans. The deans then put the policy into place for the start of each new year.
Dean Amie Creagh explained the benefits of the new policy: “First, it gives seniors a special privilege, when I think they need and deserve one. Second, it offers them the opportunity to get to know their local community a bit better before they leave it. And finally, going to a movie on a weekend night is a normal, high-school activity.”
With this policy, some faculty worry about the pressure that is placed on day students to drive boarders, along with concerns about increased rule breaking and student safety. Even though there has never been an accident with Deerfield students as a result of this policy, Creagh pointed to an accident at the Taft School several years ago.
Both senior day students and boarders are excited to be able to take advantage of this new policy.
“I think that it’s a great opportunity for boarders to get a different view of what the surrounding area is like,” day student Conor Sullivan ’15 commented. “Much of what boarders get to experience is a very small part of Greenfield, and that is only a sliver of what the area has to offer. The driving privileges will now allow for day students to show the boarding community a different side of the area that is only known to locals.”
Madi Lyford ‘15 noted, “I am excited to ride with day students because it will make going out to dinner or to Big Y a lot easier and cheaper. It is no secret that the cab service in Deerfield is lacking.”
Will Darling ‘15 added, “At any other school this conversation wouldn’t really be happening, and while I appreciate Deerfield isn’t like every other school, it seems a pretty basic idea that students who can drive should be able to drive their friends.”
Darling brings up the question of whether this responsibility should be given solely to seniors for the second half of their year or perhaps given to seniors—or even juniors— for the whole year.
Last year, the faculty voted on and ultimately rejected a policy that would have allowed seniors to drive with day students all year long. At the time, many of the faculty had strong reservations or expressed ambivalence.
At Hotchkiss students cannot drive their friends: “Day students may invite schoolmates home for either the evening or a weekend. [But] It should be understood that if a car is used to transport the visiting student to and from School, the day student must not drive.”
Ms. Creagh concluded, “A boarding environment like ours doesn’t offer many of those typical, standard routines [of home life], so I’d like to offer them when and where we can.”