Riverdale Country School prides itself on its well behaved students, but what happens in the event that someone breaks the rules? Riverdale’s system of disciplinary action includes detention, suspension, and even expulsion depending on what a student does wrong.
Ms. Julie Choi, Dean of the Class of 2019, shared that disciplinary actions are taken when a student is either academically or non-academically dishonest. While detentions are given out as necessary, major disciplinary actions such as suspension or expulsion are extremely rare and occur less than once a year. She explained that when a student receives a detention, they will be notified in person or over email and informed of the time and place of their detention.
Ms. Choi explained that although the procedure for assigning a detention is fairly simple, in order to be suspended one would have already been spoken to multiple times and/or served multiple detentions, “No one just says ‘you did something wrong, now you’re suspended.’ It doesn’t work like that,” she said.
Administrators may consider suspension if a student has repeatedly broken rules and been spoken to multiple times. Ms. Choi describes how “there are lots of people involved from the beginning: parents, student, whichever teachers happen to be involved, the dean, KNF because she’s the Head of the Upper School, and Mr. Lapidus because he’s the dean of faculty. So, it’s a process.”
While detentions can only be assigned by deans, if any faculty member believes a student should serve a detention, they may email a dean to suggest it. For example, if a student continues to show up late to class, advisory, or activity period after being warned multiples times of the issue by a teacher, Ms. Choi explained that “the teacher might email me and say, ‘Hey, you know this has been going on, what do you think about having this child serve a detention?’ More often than not, I’ll say, ‘Okay, that sounds reasonable.’”
Many students are concerned with how disciplinary actions will affect them in the near future, specifically when applying to college. Ms. Choi reassures students that detentions do not go on records sent to colleges. Suspensions however, could potentially be seen by colleges, though “it also depends on when it happens during high school and what type of a suspension. But a suspension can absolutely go onto communications with colleges,” she said. Depending on the school and the application, colleges may or may not be given the reason for a child’s suspension.
Although they may be rare, the ultimate goal of detentions and other disciplinary actions is to help the students learn from their mistakes and poor decisions.