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

Dawn F. Harkness (
Mon, 20 Nov 2000 13:45:54 -0500

Thanks for playing along anyway. Ordinarily , I wouldn't have asked you to
put out any information about yourself in a discussion group forum. It was
strictly your sarcasm which made me question your motivation. Your reply
seems pretty sincere to me so, having said that....

First - I am the parent of an SVS student who enrolled at the age of four, 7
years ago. That makes me an Assembly member and, I take my "citizenship"
very seriously. I attend most events which are open to Assembly members in
addition to reading just about everything the school has published. I
believe I have become over time, a respected member of the community for my

Second - I am an attorney who has a long standing commitment to establishing
and protecting the civil rights of all people. I have represented all kinds
of folks who have had their civil rights trampled on by the State in
addition to private parties. I am also a legal resource for all kinds of
people both inside and outside the SVS community. Nothing makes me happier
than when an SVS kid I don't know comes up to me at school, or in the
parking lot, to ask me a legal question. These have included kids who want
to know what to do about abused farm animals, police harassment,
discrimination at their jobs, their parents' divorces, and their first
speeding tickets to name just a few. I have done my best to get them the
answers to any and all of their questions with the exception of tax related
questions. I'm not that kind of girl.

Third - I have served as a mentor for several SVS students who have learned
of my work and asked to come along to see what it is I do, and how I do it.
My general rule is that if I agree to take them on as interns, they get
assigned a case to observe (with the client's permission of course). We
have meetings, I give them relevant materials to read, and as long as they
keep up their end of the bargain, they can see the case through to its
conclusion, which includes getting an up front look at what goes on in
court. Through our conversations and interactions, I have learned as much
from them as I think they have from me.

Fourth - I am an unabashed defender of the SVM who holds no office, no
title, and is beholden to none which frees me to speak (or write) my mind
when I think the situation warrants it. Love me or hate me; generally I've
found that those who read what I have to say won't forget me. I consider
this one of my greatest assets. In my opinion, I have the right friends,
and the right enemies.

Fifth - I am a political junkie who has established some important
connections with people in positions of power who can make legislative
changes. We may not agree on everything, but I know I can get their ear if
I need to.

It is my fervent wish that some day, the right case will present itself,
which will allow me to use my knowledge of the SVM, combined with everything
I have learned over the years, to substantially expand the civil rights of
young people. I have gotten close to this a couple of times, but to date,
nada. Until then, I continue to work to protect the limited ones they do

-----Original Message-----
From: <>
Date: Monday, November 20, 2000 11:04 AM
Subject: Re: DSM: public school prisons (sharing the SVS model, etc.)

>In a message dated 11/19/00 7:17:08 PM Eastern Standard Time,
> writes:
> That's a tough question to fully answer in this forum, since I have firm
> views on the appropriateness of sharing too much personal information in
> internet discussion groups. Call me crazy but, I also detect a note of
> sarcasm which makes me wonder whether I even want to take the time to
> your question. So, if you sincerely want to know how I make my
> to the SVM revolution, you tell me what yours is first (if you think it is
> nothing at all, explain what brought you to this discussion group) and
> then I'll take the time to tell you a bit more about myself.
> Dawn
> >>
>I sincerely want to know. You have some pretty strong opinions. However,
>don't play those, "You show me yours and I'll show you mine" games. I gave
>that up in the third grade. I simply want to know. Share it or not. It's
>your choice.
>I was brought into the discussion by an instructor who has introduced me to
>the SVS model. She walked by me area one day, saw me doing artwork and
>showed an interest in it. I showed her my portfolio. She said, "What are
>you doing here." "You could be in a place that would allow you to do this
>all day if you wanted." She then gave me a Fairhaven School brochure and
>brochures from other SVS schools. I showed it to my parents and they
>it was weird and expensive. I don't agree with them, but they hold all the
>cards right now, as I'm only fourteen.
>I admit, I have nothing to contribute to the model but my interest. The
>contributor is the "public school employee" (I believe you called her the
>enemy.) whom you slammed mercilessly in one of your posts.
>Just another public school student,

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