Fletcher Academy

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An exchange of emails with Ruby Bugg at Fletcher on 2009-04-22:


Ms. Bugg,

Thank you again for allowing Zander to visit your school and for speaking with us.

On reflection, we did have a few questions we wanted to ask you, mostly having to do with policies given in the school Handbook

1. page 39, "no touching": this seems like a very strange rule. What is the purpose of this rule, and how strictly is it enforced? What would the consequences be if, for example, Zander were to hug another student, or shake a student's hand in congratulation? He's not as affectionate as his younger brother Benjamin, but he does regularly give us hugs, and I'd hate for him to get the message that this was somehow a bad thing.


We talked yesterday about Zander's habit of tucking his knees up under his shirt. He also tends to pick at small imperfections in his clothing until they become large ones. Consequently, he tends to go through clothes pretty quickly, and we are fortunate to have an extended family with many older children whose clothes Zander receives as hand-me-downs, so that we don't have to keep buying new ones.

This leads to the following questions:

page 40, no t-shirts -- the majority of the hand-me-down shirts Zander receives are t-shirts. We've certainly seen other schools with this rule, but they tended to be of the more disciplinarian, less-forgiving sort; it seems out of place at a school which is designed specifically for kids with diverse ways of learning and expressing themselves, and which generally needs to be somewhat accommodating of the individual quirks of each student.

What is the purpose of this rule, and how strictly does Fletcher enforce it?

page 40, no holes in clothing: We certainly understand that students should have clothes which are intact and in good shape, and not distracting to other students. However, since Zander seems to have a talent for creating holes and tears in his clothing at an often-astonishing rate, we are wondering if this will end up being a problem for him or for the school.

3. If, hypothetically, everything went wrong and Zander were to be expelled for purely non-academic reasons (e.g. repeated violations of dress code and the no-touching rule), does the enrollment contract require the entire year's tuition to be paid anyway?

We look forward to hearing back from you.

Best wishes,

Nick and Sandy


Hi Nick and Sandy,

I enjoyed meeting with you and getting to know Zander.

I will try to address your concerns. I am sure if you have walked around our school, that you were impressed with the level of nurturing and positive reinforcement we give students. However, our efforts to help students are not limited to academics. We also help students find strategies to cope with their needs which do not set them apart from peers and which enable them to become confident members of a greater society. It is our responsibility to help our students understand that guidelines and rules will be a part of their lives, both in public places and work environments.

While we are not punitive in our methods, we do believe that reasonable and consistent consequences are important in a child's development of acceptable life skills. We take a great deal of time reviewing rules, establishing settings to facilitate the child's ability to follow the rules, and using positive reinforcements. Having said all of this, yes, we do enforce all of the rules in our handbook.

The "no touching" policy is important to know and understand at any age. Unlike a child's hugging a parent or sibling, hugging a child who may prefer not to be touched is entirely different. Also, we have found that many impulsive children, through sheer excitement, underestimate the vigor of the hug and someone ends up feeling "pushed." I am sure Zander understands that families and schools are different and that there are many ways to connect to others without touching. We certainly help our students learn this and offer support in the process.

As for the clothes, you are more than welcome to send in an extra shirt in case he needs it during the day. The dress code is less restrictive than many private schools, but does hold the older kids to a standard of dress less like play.

As for tuition......the contract is legal and binding and the Board does hold parents to the contract unless the family relocates too far away to be able to stay at the school. I cannot imagine, since we have never had this happen, a situation when a child would be expelled for dress code violations. There would be consequences which would increase if the behavior continues; however, it is highly unlikely that any family would choose to allow this to become such an issue. As for touching, that would only be an issue serious enough for expulsion if it involved the safety or rights of others. Again, the purpose of the rules is to teach children, not to punish them.

I hope this helps and answers some of your questions. I hope you understand that our rules are based on what we believe to be reasonable social expectations which take into account the needs of all kinds of children.

We believe and practice methods which focus on our students' abilities to be individuals while at the same time, being comfortable in all settings and being able to integrate themselves into other less diverse or less accepting situations.

Many thanks for your interest in our school.


Ruby W. Bugg NCC, NCSC, LPC

Dean of Students
The Fletcher Academy
400 Cedarview Court
Raleigh, NC 27609

Manual Pages

2008-9 Fletcher Academy handbook p39.jpg 2008-9 Fletcher Academy handbook p40.jpg