Re: DSM: [SVS Discussion Board] Re: Child Safety

Andrew Smallman (
Tue, 11 Apr 2000 08:39:10 -0700 (PDT)


I'm Andy Smallman of Puget Sound Community School in the Seattle area, a
school based on many of the same beliefs as SVS-model schools but not a
SVS-model school per se.

I certainly agree with Mike that enacting such a policy is not at odds
with the school philosophy, assuming of course that the policy was arrived
at with full student input. I have no doubt that was the case.

Certainly, it is important to understand that schools like SVS exist in a
society that does not share the same level of trust and respect for youth
as those involved in the schools. Certain challenges arise because of

My question has to do with how the age markers were determined. Mike
wrote, "Those between eight and thirteen years old are required to 'sign
out' and be accompanied when they take advantage of the 'open campus'
policy. Those under eight years (who typically lack parental permission to
leave campus), are now constrained as well by a school policy that
restricts them to campus except for organized 'school excursions'."

How was it determined that age 8 is the starting spot for being eligible
to sign out, and those over age 13 are not required to sign out? We have
developed a similar policy at PSCS regarding leaving our main site each
day but apply it evenhandedly to all students -- all students are required
to sign in upon their arrival each day and sign out when they leave. If
they leave our main site to participate in a non-scheduled school activity
they are required to note where they are going.

Thanks, in advance, for the response (And if the response to my question
is in the Journal, I apologize. Apparently my subscription has lapsed as
I don't recall seeing that article. Is it possible for someone at SVS to
see if I need to renew? Thanks!).


Andrew Smallman, Director
Puget Sound Community School - -

On Tue, 11 Apr 2000, Mike Sadofsky wrote:

> The question of posting the article in this forum is one that I can't
> address. It is lengthy, written by someone else, and already
> published in the Journal.
> As to a matter of philosophy, I, for one, fail to see any
> consequential conflict. At school, there is no interference with
> individual activity. But off campus, where School Meeting members
> interact with the public, there is a need to be circumspect and aware
> of how the community may react. The School Meeting that adopted this
> procedure discussed this reality and did not find a conflict either.
> Much as the school ensures that its facility conforms to fire and
> similar safety codes so as to ensure its legal right to occupy the
> premises, it is incumbent on the school to present itself to the
> external world as an institution that takes its legal responsibilities
> extremely seriously. This is particularly important because the SVS
> model of learning, child development, and operation are so different
> from the generally accepted image of a school.
> The School has always seen itself as part of the larger community and
> has found ways to show itself as a proper and legitimate institutional
> citizen. To defy conventional concepts of safety and personal
> security, and to defy external bodies on matters of law, are NOT what
> Sudbury Valley School is about.
> Mike
> Marko Koskinen wrote:
> >
> > > The entire matter, including how the school went about
> > > discussing and formulating this modification in policy, is
> > > discussed in some detail in Volume 29, Number 4, March 2000
> > > issue of the Sudbury Valley School Journal.
> >
> > Could that article be posted here. I would love to read it, becuase it
> > is in my opinion in some conflict with the philosophy of the school.
> >
> > Marko Koskinen
> > Finland

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