RE: DSM: Re: Subtle Coercion?

Joseph Moore (
Wed, 10 Jan 2001 08:06:10 -0800

Briefly - knowledge is always imperfect in practice. Everyone is, I would
think, somewhere along any particular Integral/Fragmented scale one can
choose. So, while it may be helpful abstractly to think of people who do or
do not fit into the school as being integral or fragmented, respectively, in
practice with real people it may not be helpful, and runs the risk of a
forced sorting of people into predefined boxes - kind of like what
traditional schools do.

In practice, the underlying question is totally practical: can you, Mr. or
Ms Student, follow the rules well enough so that the rest of us can at least
tolerate your presence in this little community?

Finally, the key point is partly a leap of faith, partly an observation:
almost any kid should do well in a Sudbury school. Critics of us (and any
alternative to factory schools) are quick to claim we cherry-pick, and
couldn't possibly work for your run of the mill kid. Heartfelt belief and
experience say otherwise.


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

In a message dated 1/8/01 3:58:03 PM Eastern Standard Time, writes:

> I want to just point out to you that the idea that attempting to persuade
> children to pursue something they're not interested in *damages* them is
> fundamental premise of the model, and I know the premise is true because
> see and live what happens when you don't do it every single day.

Dear Folks,

I feel this issue of damage is very interesting. We might simply define
"damage" as a person being unable to respect or recognize boundaries between

themselves and others.


I have listened to a staff member (who has more than 10 years staffing in
model) describe in (gushing overtones) that one of the students at an SM
school is "Mr. School".

I also talked with a founding staff member at another SM school who also now

has had over 10 years experience in the SM model. They described the
as basically being "integral" or fragmented. Their experience was that even
one or two "fragmented" or non-"integral" students could seriously
the community. Their view was that some limited amount of "healing" may take

place, but that it was hard on the community. They suggested that the
view of an SM school is that the school is a place where well children can
become free, rather than a place where damaged or "fragmented" children can
heal or become "integral". Their experience was that basically the school
not designed or built to be a curative place.


That the second staff person is generally correct. That an SM school is not
primarily a curative place.


Certainly the comments of the frist staff member would support the
If the school model is not curative for the students, it also appears to be
the same for staff members. The ability to characterize a student in such a
way (after more than 10 years in the model) really strongly supports the

Given that the institution is not curative for either student or staff, the
community must simply deal or not deal with the level of function or
disfunction that student or staff present. The community as school becomes
(among other things) a searching and sorting algorithm, seeking out a set of

folks with like or complementary levels of "damage".

I wonder how many students and staff present at the school house door too
"damaged", too "fragmented". I wonder what the rough percentage of
to "damaged" is.

A most interesting question is where does this "damage" come from. It
presents at the school house door, but lots of observers think the
disfunction is passed down, mostly in the first three years of life, and
within the family.


For a discussion of family systems theory:
Virginia Satir : "People Making"
Robert Firestone: "The Fantasy Bond"
Alice Miller: "Drama of the Gifted Child"
Judith Brown: "I Only Want What's Best For You"
Sidney Jourard: "The Transparent Self"

For a discussion on "damage":
Arthur Janov: "The Feeling Child"
Stephen Levine: "Healing unto Life and Death"

Deep Regard,
Bill Richardson


I have also listened to another staff member (who also has more than 10
staffing in the model) describe in (gushing overtones) that one of the
students is "Mr. School".

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Thu Mar 29 2001 - 11:16:11 EST