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

Scott David Gray (
Tue, 11 Apr 2000 21:46:53 -0400

The possibility of certification for the open campus was discussed. Allow me
to ask a couple questions:

1: What would you do if you realized that a particular 5 year old met all of
your criterion to be certified to go off campus, and yet you knew that your
school would be plunged into a legal Hell by formally certifying a 5 year old
to go off campus (as, believe me, you would be)?

2: Who is going to certify for such a thing? To be certified to use the
photolab there are a discreet (and I daresay measurable) set of skills which
are needed to use the equipment safely -- you must know how to handle
dangerous chemicals. To be certified to use the microwave there is another
set of discreet and measurable skills (no alumnium foil in there, thank you).
What set of skills are required to "be" in the wider community? It is
endless, and so ultimately there is only one standard -- responsibility and
judgement. Think about it, who is going to have the power/ability in a school
to say "you are responsible, you are not?" No way -- as far as I am concerned
every person who comes through the doors of our school is trusted to be
responsible for her/his own self (until s/he proves that s/he can't be through
due process of law), and I for one am never going to put gold stickers on a
subset of students to say who is (or is not) "certifiably responsible."

(As a footnote, point 2 forms the basis of my argument against offering a
formal diploma.)

Martin Wilke wrote:

> Andrew Smallman schrieb:
> >
> > Hey Scott,
> >
> > Thanks for the response. I certainly understand the fine-line to which
> > you refer below.
> >
> > Another question -- was there discussion around the idea of all students
> > having the same rules, regardless of age? I know there are many, many
> > precedents in our society for age-based qualifications (driving, voting,
> > drinking, etc.), but those are often seen by youth (and adults!) as
> > completely arbitrary. Also, could a "mature" 12 year-old petition the
> > school meeting and get a waiver or something, based on demonstrated
> > responsibility?
> >
> > Personally, I don't like decisions being made solely on age, hence the
> > bias in my questions. I'm hoping there is a way around it. ;)
> Yes, one's age is really a very bad criterion. If some kind of
> limitation of open campus is necessary at all, it should depend on other
> criteria. For some things Sudbury Valley has licensation (use of
> computers, photo lab, ...). Wouldn't it be fairer to have licensation
> with open campus as well? It would be more individual. It would be open
> to any person who meets the criteria, regardless of age.
> Martin Wilke

-- Scott David Gray
Phone: 508/650-9639
ICQ: 27291292

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