RE: DSM: RE: clarifying JC

Joseph Moore (
Tue, 9 Jan 2001 11:46:48 -0800

-----Original Message-----
From: []

In a message dated 1/9/01 8:03:36 AM Pacific Standard Time, writes:

 Such is JC - the vast bulk of disputes are, objectively, not as serious
 as a traffic violation. >>

When a very young child goes into JC, it can be a VERY big deal.
I agree that it is very good in theory. In practice, it works great if all
parties strive for objectivity and more importantly, telling the truth.
Some people, unfortunately, have difficulty with the truth.

Didn't mean to downplay the significance of JC to the people involved at all
- I only meant to point out that the *structure* of JC doesn't need to
reflect the structure of criminal court to do its job - rather, given the
nature of the kinds or 'offenses' and 'punishments', that traffic court
would be a better model. What I meant by "objectively not as serious" was
that few incidents adjudicated by JC involve serious damage to life and
property or possible prison terms. But, sure, the issues may be of great
importance to the people involved, and resolving them peacefully and fairly
to the satisfaction of the people involved is critically important to the
functioning of the school.

I think it's important to recognize that any procedures you set up will be less than perfect in the hands of fallible human beings. Any procedure you choose will have its good and bad points. For example, isn't it true that juries, defense attorneys and witnesses all involve their own set of potential abuses?

The key is that the kids can (and do) change the system to better reflect their senses of justice and fairness. That is a *very* good thing, the polar opposite of what is done elsewhere in society. It seems very likely to result in good decisions. But to expect any system not to sometimes fail doesn't seem fair or reasonable to me.


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