When Bordley learned of the cheating episode and his son's involvement, he was humiliated, he says. He went home and "checked out" for ten days.
"It was not just an episode involving the school and the students," he says. "It was my own son. I was a mischief-maker, but there's a difference between making mischief and a dishonorable action.
"The spin that lacrosse played a role in the matter was perplexing," he says. "The whole notion that lacrosse players received preferential treatment is hard to swallow. Press accounts made it seem like a renegade program. That hurt the most."
THAT SATURDAY MORNING A LACROSSE player called Bordley in tears because he had heard the boys found cheating might be expelled. The coach drove from his home in Virginia to the Landon campus and found Damon Bradley.
"No one needs to be expelled," he says he told the headmaster. He says he was "philosophically opposed" to expelling students.
"You make it sound as if the school should never expel anyone," Bradley replied.
"Only in the case of a kid who is immoral, heinous, or untrustworthy," Bordley said.
Bradley said he was worried there might be more students who had cheated and hadn't come forward. Bordley asked if he could help. Bradley said he could make some calls. One of his first was to the Anderson household.
First he spoke to Will. "Are there any more names that will come out?" Bordley asked.
"Not that I know of," Will responded.
"Do me a favor and ask around. I don't want any more surprises."
Will was holding back tears. "Mr. Bradley said I might be expelled. Do you think that's a serious option?"
"I can't really imagine that would be the case," Bordley said. "You've never been in trouble before."
Byron Anderson got on the phone and asked about expulsion.
"It is used only for students who are repeat offenders," Bordley responded, "a cancer on their class. It happens once every ten years."
Later that day Robert Condit had called to console Will Anderson. Condit had been a chemistry teacher and guidance counselor for decades at Landon. A venerated member of the faculty, he had retired after the 2001 school year. He had been Anderson's adviser; he had heard about the trouble and called to offer a few words of hope.
After talking with Bordley and Condit, Will Anderson felt encouraged. His father appreciated the call from Bordley. "Bordley has more influence than Bradley," he says. "He's king."
THE HONOR COURT COMMENCED SUNDAY morning in the Corcoran Room, a small auditorium in the upper school. In addition to the 13-member honor court, several faculty were there, including Bill Crittenberger and Jamie Kirkpatrick. Damon Bradley was not in the room.
The goalie went first. He was asked again if there were any other students involved in the cheating on the SAT. This time he admitted he had been untruthful in the first trial. He now said he had passed answers to Will Anderson and the other boy. He was in and out in a few minutes.
The student who had used the answers testified next. He confessed in great detail, expressed remorse, and was finished in under an hour.
Will Anderson waited outside alone, entered the room last, and began answering questions. Landon's honor code says the student will be counseled by his adviser before the trial. The first time Anderson saw his adviser, Todd Barnett, was right before the trial. "He told me to tell the truth," Anderson says, "which I did."
Crittenberger and Kirkpatrick acted as prosecutors. The first thing Anderson did was plead guilty to cheating by passing answers.
"Did you use the answers?" Crittenberger asked.
"No," Will answered.
Crittenberger asked again and again.
"Compare my answers to the ones I passed along," Anderson said. "You will find they are different."
The two teachers asked Anderson over and over whether he asked the goalie to give him the answers or whether he was a passive conduit. Anderson said he couldn't remember.
They grilled him about his calculator. Where did he buy it? How much did it cost? Where was the receipt?
Anderson's trial took more than two hours. He emerged shaken but content that he had been honest.
"I had nothing to lose," he told his parents. "Why would I lie?"
ON MONDAY MORNING, ASSISTANT COLlege counselor Maggie Raines pulled Will Anderson aside. "The honor court thinks you are lying," she said. There were descrepancies between Anderson's account and that of the other two boys as to whether he actively participated in the cheating and used the answers.
She recommended that he talk to the honor court again. "Tell the complete truth," she advised. "Be contrite. You will get off with a suspension."
Anderson went to Crittenberger to clear up the matter. Crittenberger convened an impromptu meeting of the court in the school cafeteria.
At this session, Will was even more contrite. He said he had screwed up and it would never happen again. He stuck by his story that he did not use the answers, but he admitted that he had been more active in asking for the answers and describing how he could use his calculator to transfer them.
After the session, Bill Crittenberger shook Will Anderson's hand. "Glad we cleared that up," he said.
THE NEXT MOVE WAS DAMON BRADLEY'S. The honor code is specific about the court's role. Lying before the court can result in expulsion, but a vote for guilt must be "unanimous." The court also must assess the seriousness of the offense and weigh previous violations, among other things. It then passes on its determination of guilt and recommends a "punitive or educational response" to the headmaster, who exercises his discretion.
Bradley says he felt like he was on "the edge of a knife." Alumni were telling him to apply the harshest penalties and throw all the boys out; parents were asking him to be lenient.
Lacrosse coach Rob Bordley argued against expulsions.
"Whatever answer we reach will be the wrong one," Bradley told a colleague. "That's what happened."
Bradley considers himself an ethicist. On this matter he was consistent: "It was the difference between those who waited and watched and those who came forward," he says. "There was a clear distinction."
On Tuesday morning Byron, Mary, and William Anderson were called in to meet with Bradley and a faculty member, Andrew Katz, in Bradley's office. Bradley opened the conversation by reading from the honor code. He kept mentioning "expulsion" as one of the possible outcomes. Finally he said the honor court had voted unanimously that their son had cheated and should be "separated." Bradley said he agreed.
"But William has never been in trouble," Byron said. "He hasn't been given one slap. He never even had his shirttail out. He has represented Landon well in national choral competitions."
"William did not come forward," Bradley said. "And he changed his story to the honor court."
"But Maggie Raines coached him to change his story," Mary Anderson said. "And he was interrogated for hours."