DSM: safety issues

Wed, 21 Oct 1998 18:17:32 EDT

Here is a letter which I am addressing to Mikel Matisoo at SVS. I understand
that he has served as both the Medical Supplies Clerk, and the Grounds
Maintenance Clerk [who oversees the use of the (frozen) pond, among other

But, I submit it here, because I think it touches on important issues,now my
responsibility (at FHS) to address. Other responses certainly welcome.

Hi Mikel,

Robert Murphy here - perhaps you remember me from my visit (to SVS) in April.

I am happily staffing at The Fairhaven School in MD, where I have been
med. sup. clerk. Reading the SV School Management Manual, I see a list of
first-aid type supplies.

But some of the staff here feel that items of a more medicinal nature should
be provided. (i.e. children's Tylenol, Syrup of Ipecac, etc.) Perhaps they
are thinking like parents? My feelings are that it is not in our best
interest as a school to make these things available.

I know that you have held this clerkship for some time. What, in your wisdom,
is the best way to handle this? I also wonder about school meeting members
who bring their own medicines to school. Is this (How is this) addressed?

There is LOTS of debate within our community already about "Providing a safe
place for young people" vs. "Not wanting to protect people from their own
mistakes" by interfering too broadly.

Pertaining to safety, if you have time, I would appreciate your thoughts,
(general or specific,) on the following.

Our campus includes a lovely stream which defines two of our property lines.
It is chock full of fossils and other lessons, and is in most places,
presently, quite shallow - maybe 20 cm or less of water. But it is a great,
meandering thing which includes many "murky areas" a couple of which may be
as deep as 50 cm, and one "pool" more clearly visible - thank goodness, which
reaches a depth of 75 cms.
[ That's 8", 1' 8", & 2' 6" for "old-school" Americans who need help.]
Here, of course, I am hoping that your experience handling the duties of
grounds maintenance clerk may provide some perspective.

We want to use the stream; the (opportunities) it provides was one of the main
reasons our founders built our school here.

One thought was to "mark off" deep or potentially dangerous areas,which I have
done, although there is much dissention over how either of these relative
terms should be interpreted. And, in fact, the stream is ever-changing, and
it remains to be seen if "vigilant maintenance" of these markers will even be

Additionally, a motion to require that noone enjoy the stream alone was voted
down as too invasive. (There are those students, so far, only teens who would
walk way up stream for some solitude. This is where the "murky areas" are to
be found.)

I am thinking, hopefully, that we can make do with a certification process for
the stream. Is there precedent at your school, for multi-leveled
certifications? Perhaps one level to go in the stream at all. Another to be
in it alone. Again, for many students, being in the stream means ankle to
knee-deep. They are not talking swimming, here.

Thanks very kindly,

Robert Murphy
Fairhaven School

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Thu Dec 23 1999 - 09:01:53 EST