discuss-sudbury-model Fwd: Open Campus questions

Demstartup (Demstartup@aol.com)
Thu, 14 May 1998 09:23:31 EDT

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From: "Stephanie Sarantos" <stephanie@snonet.org>
To: <demstartup@aol.com>
Subject: Open Campus questions
Date: Wed, 13 May 1998 17:24:11 -0700
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From: Stephanie, Shawna, (The Clearwater School)

We are seeking all of your collective and individual wisdom as well as
theories and rambling thoughts to address a question about open campus.

Someone at our school is proposing a new policy that would make open camp=
available only to people who are certified. Some of the things suggested=
establish certification are: signatures by parents/guardians on a releas=
stating their child may be certified for open campus, student signs an
agreement that states they are capable of following safety and other rule=
of the school while off campus and that they are capable of handling
themselves in potentially dangerous situations, student signs in and out
when going off campus and indicates where he/she will be while off campus=
Some of the reasons given for this proposal are:

Students are certified to use the computers, kitchen equipment, certain a=
supplies, etc. How is going off campus any different?

There are certain students that are clearly not responsible enough to be =
campus by themselves, depending on the situation. It is not just a quest=
of age, but of seeing how these students conduct themselves on campus.
Today, for instance, a 6-year-old wanted to ride his bike, behind some ol=
boys, from the school along a street to a convenience store. A staff mem=
told the younger boy it would not be safe for him and said he shouldn't d=
the ride. The older boys didn't know about the younger boy wanting to
follow them.

Last week a boy wanted to ride his bike alone on a high-use bike trail ne=
the school. A staff member had witnessed him riding back and forth at
school that day, tipping over and jumping off his bike repeatedly,
potentially dangerous behavior on a trail where adults frequently ride at
high speed in both directions. The staff member told him it would not be
safe for him to ride alone on the trail. So, staff, and other students c=
apply a lot of pressure to keep another student from using their off camp=
privileges because of safety concerns. Is this appropriate? Of course, =
one has to do what anyone else suggests they do. But, staff especially
have power, particularly over younger kids, to persuade them to not do
something we think is unsafe.

There is some appeal to the certification proposal around issues where st=
are telling young kids that they are not safe enough or capable to do
certain things. A certification would lesson some of the power that staf=
hold here. Our situation is colored by our stage as a school. Most of o=
kids are young.

Shawna and Stephanie have trepidation about the proposal that we have
trouble articulating. Some points: difficulty to enforce the policy, th=
bother of signing out, and the expectations that parents may hold of staf=
to enforce their restrictions on their kids. There seems to be something
essential about the trust that the school is built on that rises up with
this issue.

The staff are divided in half about our comfort with open campus.