Did You See the E-mail?

Did You See the E-mail?

Priyanka Dubey, Editor

Before a Dexter Southfield athletics event, it is often a ritual for the student body to receive an email of notification. Normally these emails consist of when the game is, and a message to get students excited and bring a certain energy to the game. On December 8th, 2022 I got a text message from one of my friends. It was a screenshot of an email that had been sent, I read it as I walked through the hallways of school and didn’t really believe her, so I went on to my Outlook and read the email there.


The subject of the email was “Battle of The VFW.” I read on to see that the email was sent from an alumnus informing the current student body about a hockey game versus Nobles. However, this email was different than the ones I was used to receiving. First, it started off with “Rumor has it school emails aren’t allowed to be fun.” A blunt and simple statement that still did the job; I continued with even more attentiveness. What followed was a list of some of the “ biggest rivalries in the world.” The rest of the email listed details about the game and encouragement to make noise to support our boy’s varsity hockey team. The last paragraph stated a specific team member’s name and an otherwise suggestive message.


This wasn’t the first-time school-wide emails have been sent in a casual fashion. There have been several times humorous threads sparked in response to an email sent from Mr. McLean. These usually end with an email from a faculty member, reminding students that this was a platform that reached every Dexter Southfield Upper Sschool member. Though this one was different. No response, no follow-up email, and no message from Mr. Booth. The only acknowledgment of the email was smaller conversations within friend groups and aimless small talk among students. I grew curious as to what people’s reactions were and decided to conduct a few interviews. First, I interviewed the student body presidents: Gevans Gabeau ’23 and Allison Vilms ’23.


The View: Why do you think we need school-wide emails?

Gabeau: “It’s the fastest way to send a message to the school, It’s just convenient if I need to remind everyone of an event…”

Vilms: “It’s just the quickest way to get information out, everyone’s on their email or phone.”

The View: On December 8 an email was sent by an alumnus about a hockey game vs. Nobles, which included what some might say, controversial comparisons. What are your thoughts on this?

Gabeau: “I think it was a good way to grab the student’s attention, but I can understand why some faculty might be upset about it.”

Vilms: “I love the spirited alumni. I feel like we could’ve gone about game support in a slightly different way.”

The View: Sending emails is usually the job of the presidents, do you feel as though you were overstepped? Do you think alumni should be able to send school-wide emails?

Gabeau: “No I do not feel overstepped. I usually only send emails if people ask me to, also since the beginning of the year Mr. Booth wanted approval on what was sent out. He’s more relaxed with me and Allison so that’s probably why we’re asked to send the emails.”

Vilms: “Honestly I feel like I got people excited about the game, and Gevans usually sends out emails about the games so I don’t feel like I was overstepped personally.”

The View: The email starts off with “Rumor has it school emails are no longer allowed to be fun.” Would you agree?

Gabeau: “Well… Earlier in the school year during the football season, there was an email sent out about the student section being weak, and Mr. Booth found some of the language possibly offensive so he said that students are no longer allowed to send a schoolwide email unless you get it approved. So, [team captains] weren’t allowed to send school animals anymore, so look for another alternative like alumni send those emails for them.”

Vilms: “I feel like there are a lot more like rules put in place on what you can and cannot send an email and I feel like it kind of has ruined the vibe of like what a game day email used to be and so yeah I feel like they’re a little less fun now.”

The View: After these new rules and regulations regarding emails, would you say you generally have enough authority as student body presidents?

Gabeau: “I think I’m more of, kind of like a meeting point between the students in the administration. I don’t really have power. I talk to Mr. Booth and faculty on behalf of the student body, but I think the administration makes the ultimate decision.”

Vilms: “I feel like yes and no. Yes, Gevans and I are allowed to send out pretty much like any email like within reason, and we know where the line is, obviously. I feel like most people do just sometimes you want to have fun with it, but I feel like we could use a little bit more support from like maybe the administration. But I think the presidents do have a little more authority.”

After hearing the presidents’ perspectives, I interviewed Mr. Booth. I asked relatively the same set of questions, however I edited them to be slightly more personal as he was specifically mentioned in the email.  

The View: On December 8 an email was sent by an alumnus informing the school of the hockey game versus nobles. Are you familiar with the one I’m referring to?

Mr. Booth: Yes.

The View: The email starts with: “Rumor has it school emails are no longer allowed to be fun.” I know there’s also an email situation at the beginning of the year that may relate to the statement. What are your thoughts on this and can you explain the situation?

Mr. Booth: Sure, I mean my overall thoughts regarding mass emails is students sometimes send things that they think are funny and sometimes they’re not sometimes, even worse, they actually may offend someone. In this particular email, the gentleman was busting my chops and I can live with that. I’ve been doing this for 34 years I have seen kids make mistakes and sometimes say things that may hurt them for the rest of their lives so I always want them to just send things my way first. There are other ways to get ra-ra about sporting events and you have social media but our network shouldn’t be that place without someone looking at it first.

The View: You were specifically named in the e-mail. How do you feel about this?

Mr. Booth: I mean it’s a kid being a kid. I actually met him and I bumped into him at a later game He didn’t know who I was and he was shocked, the blood left his face and I said, Let’s shake hands. You understand I don’t want an email like this going out. You don’t attend school here anymore I hear you’re a good kid–everyone told me. So, I know that adults make mistakes and kids make mistakes so I wasn’t concerned about that part of it as much as I was concerned about later in the email, he’s talking about another kid on the team…that part just felt awkward, again it could have offended somebody.

I’ve had kids throw things my way for a long time and I know that’s part of being a teenager. I have two daughters myself and they threw it back at the garden and that’s OK with you to live and grow by.

The View: The email itself was very public, did you ever think to publicly address it?

Mr. Booth: Well I didn’t get any feedback from my current students. No one came up to me and said “I was offended by that,” or “Why did that happen?” You know you’re [Priyanka] really sort of the first person to sit down and talk with me at length about it but I did address it.

Graduates were able to keep their Dexter Southfield emails to help them see AP scores that come out in in in August and to just sort of have a way to stay connected to the school in the transition to college. But most schools will cut off that access sometime in mid August or right before school starts, so that’s what we’re doing moving forward. I’m doing so because I have no official power over graduates. And if it was something in a really horrific we wouldn’t be able to do something about it. If it was a current student I would’ve definitely talk to them and they probably would’ve received detention because they were going against rules. We can block people from sending mass emails. I don’t want to be that draconian. With the presidents I give them a little bit more latitude, such as Gevans and Allison because we’ve talked. I met them in July, I feel like I know them pretty well They’re the presidents for a reason, the good news is they understand what is acceptable and what’s not acceptable by me first. I’m sure at some point in time this year and every year somebody’s going to get pumped up and try to send something funny and it may work or it may not work. I’m not a complicated ; I’m a pretty regular guy. I don’t want again the two things: you may say something that you think is funny and you send it, and then you may say something that’s ignorant–heaven forbid.

After learning about how Mr. Booth responded to the email, there seems to be two major outcomes regarding school-wide emails.  

  1. Emails sent to the whole school must be looked over by Mr. Booth for approval, or you can ask the presidents to send the email instead.  
  2. Alumni will no longer be able to keep their Dexter Southfield email after August.  

The student body has taken time to adapt to some of the new regulations. Not only with emails but leaving campus during the day, headphones, etc. Perhaps with a better connection between the faculty making these rules and the students, there can be a compromise made or better understanding. As of now there is a sense of disconnect, and much of the student body is left wondering: Why do we need this rule?