Re: DSM: Sudbury Schools - Summerhill

Mark Stafford & Angela Sevin (
Wed, 27 Oct 1999 09:59:43 -0700

Debbie Athos wrote:

> Hello Alan,
> The founders group would decide how the money would be spent. The people
> that are apart of our group at this time have all known me for years. I've
> worked in the natural foods business for 23 years. I've owned my own natural
> foods restaurant and natural health center, taught natural foods cooking
> classes through the public school system and now own a natural foods store.
> People consult me every chance that they can on what they should eat to be
> healthy. They ask me to shop and cook for them all the time!
> If the group said "Deb ~ we want sugar in our school lunches." I'd say "How
> about letting me make your desserts using less refined, natural sweeteners
> or organic fruit juice and if there are complaints that there wasn't any
> white refined sugar in the food then we'll try some organic sugar cane." or
> "Deb ~ we want lots of cheese in our pasta REAL cheese not that soybean
> stuff..." I'd say "No problem, however I suggest that we get this brand
> because they don't add hormones to their cow's daily diet."
> And to help cover the costs - I just happen to have contacts in all the
> right places and I'm very creative. We'll make it work because it is what we
> want as a group - not something I dreamed up in the middle of the night all
> by myself.

This is very hard to articulate, but I'm gonna try. I think "we're" missing the
point here. Good intentions, well-meaning adults, and a "good" social agenda on
the part of founders are ultimately NOT what makes a free and open (and even
"healthy") learning environment. It's a grassroots community effort with the
students as a very vital part of the tree, lawn, forest, whatever. You and the
parents may become very good "doctors" treating the symptoms of what you may
perceive as the problems of humanity. But what if you're wrong? What if food
is not the heart of the matter and it's our thinking that makes it such a
powerful force (our "belief", if you will). What will end up happening is that
you may secularize your community into believers and non-believers; and those
who agree might join and those who don't will be "outsiders". The kids may go
on to college and complain about how the outside world is unhealthy and unfair
(unless they go to Reed College, I imagine). Will they have the thinking tools
to cope with this, or will they start the cycle over again and try to convert
the "non-believers" to their way of thinking?


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