Andover Implements Growth and Accountability Plan 2

After first introducing the Growth and Accountability Plan (GAP) this fall, an email to the Andover community on January 25 announced a “second growth and accountability plan (GAP 2).” According to the email — sent by Head of School Dr. Raynard Kington — the updated disciplinary system will limit suspensions and dismissals of students and offer a GAP 2 to students with previous GAPs.  

Under this year’s new disciplinary system, students receive a GAP, a ten week plan, from creation to review, that requires students to reflect on their disciplinary infractions. Student misconduct was categorized into Levels 1, 2, or 3. According to the Blue Book, when students commit their first Level 2 infraction, they may be given a GAP, through which they must work to grow as an individual with actions such as writing apologies to impacted individuals and keeping a journal. Students who commit their first Level 3 infraction may be suspended, dismissed, or given a GAP. 

Per the new policy, spearheaded by Kington and the administration, if a student who has been given a GAP for a previous action commits another Level 2 or 3 infraction, they may be suspended, dismissed, or given a second, more rigorous GAP, known as “GAP 2.” According to the email sent to the Andover community, a GAP 2 could include mandatory counseling, drug testing, or “dorm and campus restrictions” for students.

Previously, when students with GAPs committed a second infraction, they would face either suspension or dismissal, according to Student Body Co-President Nigel Savage ’23. Savage explained that Kington motivated the administration to change the system after researching suspension and removal disciplinary practices.

“A lot of the research that Dr. Kington has looked at says that suspension doesn’t really work, at least for public schools… This GAP 2 would [include] a lot more rigorous enforcement. If it was drugs and alcohol related, it would be weekly drug testing, random drug searches, stuff like that, to try to give students another chance and more opportunities to be able to stay in our community. But it’s not an infinite free pass. It’s more rigorous…to get you in the place that you need to be,” said Savage.

Savage added that there has been a recent increase in substance abuse on campus. The administration hoped to address campus substance abuse with the new plan, according to Savage.

“There’s been an uptick, I think, this year in specifically drug and alcohol related cases or infractions, and I think what [administrators] were seeing was that maybe the best way to approach that is [to] continue to do those kinds of random drug searches, random drug tests, those more rigorous enforcements to try and get people to get on the right path, instead of just suspending people,” said Savage.

Student Body and Cluster Co-Presidents also met with the administration regarding the decision to implement GAP policy change, according to Cluster Co-President of West Quad North Rohan Kapoor ’23. Kapoor expressed support for the change, which he believes will lead to more positive and equitable outcomes for students.

 “I think that, especially in cases such as substance abuse, if we have the structure to support students on campus, we should use it… it’s definitely a way for us to help decrease the inequality that we see sometimes in the student body, where if you’re sent home for suspension, some outcomes might be very different than if someone else was sent home for suspension… Keeping students here on campus in a community where they can be supported, where they can learn, and they can thrive, that’s something that I’m always for,” said Kapoor.