Re: DSM: public school prisons (sharing the SVS model, etc.)

Scott Gray (
Mon, 13 Nov 2000 01:41:49 -0500 (EST)


  There are a couple points on which you have lost me.

  Why would I, or anyone, ever waste any time building something that
cannot be explained or defended? Particularly when there is so much
_work_ that goes into building a school like SVS?
  If I felt that Sudbury Schools were no better than traditional schools,
I guarantee you that I would _not_ spend so much time and energy working
on building them. I would spend no time or energy at all.
  Personally, I think it is pretty irresponsible to _ever_ do _anything_
without stopping to consider whether or not the action to be taken is

  I do not know where the notion comes from that a belief in freedom must
lead to a rejection of concepts of right and wrong. Right and wrong is
the daily bread of a free people, and probably is harder (and more
dangerous) to avoid in a free society than in any other environment. The
School Meeting must constantly consider (often from first principles) the
question of how to proceed on various real issues, and makes those
decisions based upon both factual and ethical considerations.
  The School Meeting considers issues of right and wrong when it decides
under exactly what terms individuals are exempted from testifying in the
Judicial Committee. The School Meeting considers issues of right and
wrong when it decides on what Judicial philosophy will inform sentencing
in the school. The School Meeting considers issues of right and wrong
when it sets up tuition loan and tuition payment plan programs. The
School Meeting considers issues of right and wrong when it decides under
what terms students can sell wares within the school.
  I have been a student, Trustee, and staff member at Sudbury Valley. I
have never encountered anything in the model which implies the moral
relativism which your posts suggest is a feature of Sudbury Model schools.
The Sudbury model suggests pluralism; this means that the school protects
the right of individuals within the school to hold whatever opinions they
wish. But this does not excuse the school community as a whole from the
burden of recognizing that moral considerations inform many of its
--Scott David Gray
reply to:
Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate
agitation, are men who want rain without thunder and
lightning. They want the ocean without the roar of its many

-- Frederick Douglass

On Sun, 12 Nov 2000 wrote:

> Bruce,
> Sudbury Valley calls forth a method qualitatively different than attack and
> defend, qualitatively beyond right and wrong. The method of Sudbury Valley is
> freedom. What we would best be free of first is a morality that paints public
> schools as wrong and Sudbury Valley as right. Please as fast as you can give
> up the notion that public schools are wrong. The great benefit in this is
> that then Sudbury Valley does not have to be right. It is my deepest belief
> that we can build Sudbury Valley schools faster, much faster, if we do not
> stop to consider if they are right. Sudbury Valley has institutionalized the
> notion of respect for children. This is a stunning accomplishment. Children
> can make extremely valuable use of respect. Sudbury Valley schools do not
> have to be explained or defended, they have to be built.
> As always, if these ideas are not useful, please just forget them
> Bill Richardson

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