Letter to the Editor: True Respect and 6-5-4


To the Editor:

Re “Should We Keep 6-5-4?”, (Opinions piece, Dec. 2019):

We have roughly 85 years of aggregate time on the Circle in our family.  Our experiences are not uniform, and our opinions about discrete School issues are understandably diverse, as the perspectives of students and faculty members are unsurprisingly different.  Yet we are moved to write jointly in response to the defenses of 6-5-4 published in the December issue of the CV, as support of exclusion and entitlement on campus, while not new, continues to pain us.

The notion that there is disrespect associated with underformers sitting in the library, on the dining hall platform, or in the choir stalls of the chapel is elitist.  Describing this as tradition implies institutional sanction, and that has never been true for 6-5-4 in our collective time here. It is noteworthy that 6th formers do not invoke these alleged traditions in the presence of faculty members.

It is the hijacking of the library as a privileged space that is most galling.  This is a school, and the library is literally and emotionally at its heart. To exclude underformers from this vital resource is inconsistent with our core mission, as it suggests that their mere presence is a nuisance or an impediment to important 6th form activities. Regarding the dining hall space, we hope that the question “How many seniors really cut lower schoolers in the lunch line nowadays?” isn’t naive, but our experience has been that older students are too comfortable cutting in front of their younger peers, an act unbecoming of anyone who is called a prefect.

It is difficult to make it to senior year–the demands are manifold. Because of this, the 6th formers are considered to be deserving of leadership positions in our school. In myriad ways, their leadership is valued, admired, and celebrated. An extraordinary acknowledgement of this esteem is 10-12, a privilege unique to Groton. To be worthy of respect, 6th formers should be kind, open, and inclusive of others; bullying and intimidation are contrary to these ideals.


Stephen Belsky, Kate Dennison, David Belsky ‘12, Molly Belsky ‘12, Jared Belsky ‘15

Groton, M.A.