Fwd: RE: surfing uncesored

Coby Smolens (cobys@webtv.net)
Wed, 12 Mar 1997 01:31:57 -0800

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Hi Folks,

This is from Coby, Marin SV Model Founders Group, writing in response to
Dale Reed and Wayne Radinsky (see below).

1rst: Point of query -- I have been searching the California Legal Codes
for law pertaining to pornography, private schools and the internet and
I haven't found anything AT ALL laying the burden of censorship on such
schools. Almost all the Codes I have found have to do with the producers
and distributors of the stuff... Have either of you done research in
this direction? As a member of the founding group of an embryonic
SVS-modelled school I am eager to have any solid legal information
available on this, or any other subject which may help me to participate
more clearly in informed discussion regarding what has become a passion
for me.

2nd: Re: kids having been automatically put in an anti-censorship
position by SVS philosophy: Unh-uh. People in an SVS school are endowed
with equal rights. If some of them, at some time during their
development feel the need to attempt to censor what others
see/hear/say/do, they have the right to try it out, within the agreed
context of due democratic process -- a process which they have helped to
craft and in which they participate on a daily basis -- and to learn
from the experience.

3rd: Dale, could you explain to me the reason for comparing "the
homeschooling/unschooling model" to that of Sudbury Valley? Is it even
possible to do this? Homeschooling/unschooling covers a wide range of
significantly differing environments, ranging from mini-academies
complete with desks, blackboards, textbooks and grades to genuine
self-directed living. On the other hand, the Sudbury Valley approach, as
embodied in all the schools who've adopted it, is a coherent, unified
structure not subject in any material way to the happenstance of
geography, the vicissitudes of political or religious background, or the
whim of personality. Maybe the cups ain't all in the cupboard, but I
don't see the usefulness of the comparison...

Cheers -- Coby

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From: Wayne Radinsky <waynerad@oz.net>
To: "discuss-sudbury-model@europe.std.com" <discuss-sudbury-model@europe.std.com>
Subject: RE: surfing uncesored
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 1997 23:52:49 -0800
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>> Besides that, WHAT does this have to do with SVS??? Sudbury
>> Valley School has to comply with the law of the land. It may not
>> be against the school's philosophy to censor, but the law says,
>> for example, that people under 18 shouldn't see pornography, (this
>> can vary from place to place), so an SVS-school will comply with
>> that. So in my opinion this issue doesn't have anything to do with
>> SVS.
> If this is so why did not someone from SVS immediately reply to my
> posting that they must observe the laws of Massachusetts which say...
> and the method by which they are doing this is... why did not a SVS
> model school in California come back immediately and say we must observe
> the laws of California, we discuss those laws in the school meeting and
> then decide how to obey them while maximizing the freedoms of the
> students?

That is a very good question. I'll let them answer it :-)

> It seemed to me this was a interesting test case for determining how the
> decisions are made in democratic schools. So far I have learned a lot
> from the discussions but as you imply there maybe more to learn.

I am sure. I see censorship as yet another control issue. Traditional
schools overtly control kids. Censorship is an effort at control as
well. My interpretation of SVS's philosophy is that it takes the position
that kids should be in control of their own lives as much as possible, which
kind of automatically puts them in an anti-censorship position. At the
same time, SVS resolves disputes through democratic process, which
implies the position of changing censorship laws through democratic
process rather than by disobedience to laws. Someone from SVS is
welcome to pipe in and clarify.

> I will tell you one thing. The homeschoolers can surf anywhere they
> want to unless their parents have installed some filters. I am always
> comparing the SVS model against the homeschooling/unschooling
> model(where there are no compromises with a school of staff and
> students) and trying to determine where the students have the most
> freedoms and responsibilities. They both operate under the same state
> laws. Dale

Homeschoolers can surf anywhere they want to if their parents allow
because they can't be monitored. I would be willing to bet that if you,
as a parent, called your local police and asked them if it's legal to let
your kid surf the net without being monitored (either by the computer
or an adult), I think they would say no, it's illegal to give minors access
to pornography, period. That would be an interesting experiment.
Remember, usually the laws were made before the Internet was around.

Having said that, I know of parents who let their kids surf the net all
they want, and have never had any problems.