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Putting the AP System on Restrictions
Nadia Jo '19 Associate Editor
November 16, 2016

A few weeks ago, I received an email informing me that I was placed on Level I Restrictions because of three late overnight forms. Two of those three late submissions were last-minute family plans, leaving me no other choice but to submit them after the Wednesday 10:15pm deadline. As a result, I accumulated 12 APs during the first few weeks of school.

Compare this to freshman year, when I missed a few sit-down meals and was not penalized as heavily. Four APs for one overnight form is excessive; two APs for skipping a sit-down meal undermines the irresponsibility behind the action. There are many other pairs of offenses that are not equal in severity but are assigned the same AP values—take, for example, skipping a co-curricular activity and not posting a weekend signout form on the door. How is forgetting to tape up a sheet of paper as bad as missing a co-curricular commitment?

I think different cases of APs as belonging to one of two broad categories: absence and negligence. The first describes the failure to show up to required events such as a class, school meeting, or a sit-down meal. Under this umbrella are activities that are essential to shaping the Deerfield community; when students fail to show up to these events, they negatively impact Deerfield.

Negligence, on the other hand, is more of a mistake than a conscious decision to go against Deerfield’s rules and expectations. Students are assigned APs for common mistakes that anyone can make, such as not signing up for buses on time. Likewise, a student who has to leave campus for sudden unforeseen reasons would also be assigned four APs if that student submits a weekend form after Wednesday.        

Understandably, faculty members are forced to stay up late at night to go through hundreds of late forms. Although absence and negligence both negatively impact the Deerfield community, there are many offenses across these two categories that are not equal in severity but have the same AP values. Right now, submitting three late weekend forms is “as bad” as skipping six sit-down meals. Clearly, one is a more irresponsible action than the other.

The current AP system, which is almost 20 years old, has no student input as to what the point values should be for different offenses. A reevaluation of these point values would help create a system that holds students accountable in a more reasonable manner.

A revision in the current AP system should be centered first and foremost on student opinions. We can start by sending out a schoolwide poll to identify which offenses students are the most concerned with. From there, the administration can hold a series of meetings with the student body that serve as a platform for discussing the offenses in question. After creating a new scale of point values, students and the administration can vote on a new system.

Many times, the number of APs students receive are out of proportion with the small mistakes they make. A revision in the current AP system by incorporating student opinions will more accurately reflect the severity of student actions, thereby helping the Deerfield community run more smoothly.