DSM: Re: [SVS Discussion Board] Child Safety

Kristin Harkness (kristin@harkness.net)
Fri, 11 Feb 2000 13:56:29 -0500

I would take exception to the basic question you ask about whether an SVS
school has "lost" a child. Since, in my opinion, it is not the school's
responsibility to monitor the child, it would be impossible for the school
to lose her.

To attempt to answer the spirit of your question: I am a parent of an SVS
student who enrolled at the age of four and is now 10. I shared your
concern regarding the open campus policy and this is how we approached the
issue. We made a deal with our daughter that if she wanted to enjoy the
freedom of an education at SVS, she would have to agree not to go off campus
unless she had specific permission from us to do so. We felt that she was
mature enough to understand and honor our agreement and this has worked for
us. Of course, as she has gotten more mature, we have adjusted our
agreement to our mutual satisfaction.

Be that as it may, our open campus policy has recently been radically
changed to the point of seriously curtailing the open campus policy by
placing institutional limitations on children 13 (I think) and under. I'm
not sure whether or not other Sudbury model schools will follow suit, but if
they do, your eight year old may not be free to wander off in the woods
without checking out and letting a staff member know exactly where she is

So my advice to you is, as a parent, you know whether your daughter is
mature enough to handle either the responsibility of an open campus or
alternatively whether she is mature enough to make and keep an agreement
with you. If you have doubts about either of these issues than I would urge
you to not enroll your child in an SVS school until she is able to keep
herself safe. The fact that you want your child to be watched at all times
indicates to me that your child is not ready for the responsibilities
associated with attending an SVS school. To be fair to your child and your
school, you should not enroll her until you can be comfortable with knowing
that she will be as safe as can reasonably be expected under the
circumstance as they are, not as you wish they would be.

I would also add a footnote. I "wandered off" every campus of every school
I ever attended even though I was supposed to have been closely monitored by
school staff. The fact that teachers were supposed to be watching my every
move just meant I had to be sneaky about it. It certainly didn't slow me
down much.

Dawn Harkness

---Original Message-----
From: webmaster@sudval.org <webmaster@sudval.org>
To: webmaster@sudval.org <webmaster@sudval.org>
Date: Friday, February 11, 2000 12:11 PM
Subject: DSM: [SVS Discussion Board] Child Safety

>The following new message has been posted on SVS Discussion Board at
> MESSAGE: (#84) Child Safety
> <http://www.sudval.org/cgi-bin/svsbbs.cgi?review=84>
> AUTHOR: Patrice <patrice2u@aol.com>
> DATE: Friday, 11 February 2000, at 11:29 a.m.
>Hi All,
>I have read the Greenberg books and even (miraculously) found a shcool
>in my area.
>I do however have some concerns as I think all Mom's would. I know that
>academics are futile without a sense of self and a love for one's self and
>without the freedom to choose that which interests you. I worked in a
>Montessori classroom for a few years and decided that then.
>I am worried though about one of my daughters wondering off....she 8 , and
>really a runaway, she is just a daydreamer and loves to be out in the woods
>and what is to stop her from wandering too far or going out into the
street. I
>know I know the parents can have agreements...but kids don't always
>this especially the younger ones who tend to live in a "different world". I
>want someone watching my kid! I can't get past that one. I love EVERYTHING
>else about the school and I want my child to attend but I can't go thru my
>unless I KNOW she is in a safe place. The other 3 kids are older and I am
>so worried about them...and I can't ask them to watch her because that will
>taking each of them away from what they want to do and would defeat the
>purpose of going to that school.
>So my main question is HAVE YOU EVER LOST SOMEONE'S KID...AND IF SO...DID
>And what are the colleges or professions that your grads, recent thru 30
>years, ago are attending or involved in??
>I would really appreciate any reassureance if you can offer it and answers
>my two questions.
>Many Thanx Patrice Notaro
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