Palfrey Urges Students to Act With Foresight After Slight Increase in Discipline Cases This Year

Head of School John Palfrey urged students to make good choices and alerted faculty and students of an uptick in drug and alcohol-related disciplinary cases in an email to the Andover community on March 26.

“Over the last few years, our instances of drug and alcohol-related discipline has been incredibly low. This year there are more. This is not a situation of huge concern, and this is not a major change in terms of what is happening on campus, but I felt like it was appropriate for me to say what I knew and to say as much as possible at the beginning of Spring Term,” said Palfrey in an interview with The Phillipian.

In 2011-2012, one percent of the student body were involved in disciplinary cases that dealt with drugs and alcohol. The same percentage held true in 2012-2013. This year, however, two percent of the student body have sat before a disciplinary committee thus far in the 2013-2014 school year, according to Paul Murphy, Dean of Students.

“We are still below where it has been in recent years, but this is not going in the right direction,” said Palfrey in the interview.

In his email, Palfrey noted that this uptick has occurred despite the deliberate effort to decrease the number of students enrolled from 1,142 last year to 1,122 this year.

The result of a disciplinary case dealing with drugs and alcohol typically results in probation and is marked on the student’s college record, according to Palfrey.

“We are, generally speaking, a second-chance school, which I think is right, and we are generally quite clear about our drug and alcohol policies, and it’s a choice before students on whether or not they are going to abide by it,” said Palfrey.

“There are so many instances when students will come into my office and ask for a do-over or an exception to the rule and the answer is no. This is just a choice that you’re making,” he continued.

“The point of the email was not to raise a red flag. I understand this is a high school, but make good choices. I’d rather [students] thought about it in advance,” he said.