Re: DSM: Sudbury boarding schools?

Scott Gray (
Mon, 20 Dec 1999 13:39:01 -0500 (EST)

Those are arguments that Summerhill is not a free or equal school, not
that Summerhill is undemocratic. A democracy can be coercive -- look at
ancient Athens.

A quality I expect in a democracy, though, is that the agenda is decided
by the democratic body, and not by an authority which decides what is (or
is not) OK for the democratic body to vote on.

The English Parliament may have been democratic under the Tudors and
Stuarts, but England was not considered a democracy because the queen/king
could decide when/if to call Parliament and could limit what Parliament
could discuss. Likewise in Summerhill, the School Meeting may operate
democratically, but certain matters are not laid before the School Meeting
-- so I would suggest that Summerhill is not a democracy but a
constitutional monarchy under the headmaster.

On Mon, 20 Dec 1999 wrote:

> << Summerhill will generally not take a new student over 13, unless they have
> already been in a democratic school >>
> I've heard that this is because they don't generally keep students after the
> age of 16, and because students who have been in overt coercive schools tend
> to not go to classes. I've also heard that the staff decides which building
> the kids live in, and it is bby age, not prefered sleeping patterns or
> noisyness or any other prefrence. That's why I'd say that they are not really
> a democratic school, but a subtly coercive one. I'm not sure though...
> ~woty chaos

--Scott David Gray
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