Re: DSM: about Sudbury model

Bruce Smith (
Sun, 25 Mar 2001 11:31:56 -0700

>My point is that I am still troubled by the concept of letting individuals
>who have
>little or no knowledge of the realities of life should somehow be part of the
>decision making model. Certainly they may express their opinion but to
>allow them a
>vote is a bit much for me.

How else will people learn these "realities of life"? By being denied any
substantive involvement in them until they are 18, and then dumped out into
society totally unprepared? Or by practicing them in a supportive
environment, gradually learning the requisite skills and responsibility?

>If in fact the above three rules are the only rules that people are brought up
>before a JC I have totally misunderstood the nature of the many comments
>about the
>I have no problem with those three rules at all and totally agree with them.

My three "rules" were actually a distillation of a number of more specific
laws. To get a bit more precise, here is a sampling from the AVS lawbook
(from memory, so not necessarily verbatim)...

A3.1 No one may infringe on anyone's right to exist peaceably at school,
free of verbal or physical harrassment.

A3.2 No one may knowingly disrupt anyone's activity at school.

A3.4 Running and/or roughhousing are not permitted in the building.

A4.1 People are expected to pick up after themselves; activities that are
left for up to ten minutes do not violate this rule.

A4.2(a) People may not use personal property without the owner's permission.

...and so on; all elaborations of those basic principles I cited in my last
post. Do you still totally agree with this stuff?

>You said:
>"but rather are granted the
>basic human right of sharing in the decisions that affect their lives."
>I submit that it is neither a basic human right or a human right at all
>and that it
>must be fought for, earned, and cherished if the right, if once achieved
>by force
>and/or power, is to be retained. In our school it is a right that must be

I never said, or meant to imply, that basic human rights do not have to be
fought for and should not be cherished (as well all know, the "inalienable
rights" sought in the Declaration of Independence had to be followed by a
war). "Basic" or "inalienable" simply implies that these rights belong to
people by virtue of their humanity, and ought not be denied. In the end,
what do Sudbury schools represent if not a fighting for, and cherishing of,
the crazy idea that kids are people, worthy of our full respect?



"Wherever we go, there seems to be only one business at hand --
that of finding workable compromises between the sublimity
of our ideas and the absurdity of the fact of us."

              -- Annie Dillard, _Teaching a Stone to Talk_

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