Re: DSM: RE: pre-Sudbury parental conduct

Scott Gray (
Wed, 10 Jan 2001 18:56:21 -0500 (EST)

Alan took the words out of my mouth.

I refuse students all the time. When little kids ask me to read to them,
they know (or quickly learn), that I do not want to spend time reading to
just one or two people at a time, and that I generally refuse to read
Richard Scarry books or "The Magic Schoolbus." Students know that I am
easier to draw into a conversation about politics or philosophy, than a
discussion about art.

I think the key is this. As a staff member I do not refuse or indulge
student requests based upon an analyzsis of what would be good for _them_
-- I refuse or indulge student requests based on whether I think that
would be a good use of _my_ time (and, to be sure, how important the
request is to the student is a major factor).

On Wed, 10 Jan 2001, Alan Klein wrote:

> Cary raises an interesting question here. (My response and question follow.)
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: <>
> > But okay, I admit it, I'm not perfect at it. The other day he was eating
> > Hershey's Kisses one after another, which I was not thrilled about, but
> had
> > only myself to blame for leaving them right there on the coffee table, and
> > after he had opened and eaten about four he started asking me to open them
> > for him. And I actually said, "If you can open them yourself then you have
> to
> > do that - I don't want to help you eat those." Oy!
> >
> > The good news is that I'm pretty good about catching myself. About one
> minute
> > after I refused to help him open the kisses I remembered being a staff
> member
> > in an SM school, where the practice reflected a genuine value of mine -
> that
> > if someone asks for help, _you give it_. Duh. So I opened as many kisses
> as
> > he wanted, silently vowing that I'd learned my lesson and would never
> leave
> > large quantities of chocolate lying aroung again.
> My take on this is that her initial reaction, if an honest one, was quite
> appropriate. As an eight year veteran staff member in a democratic school or
> as a parent, I believe that I am under no obligation to help everyone do
> everything, particularly if I believe it will be harmful to them or to
> others or to property. I may be obliged not to intervene if I believe the
> harm is simply to themselves, but I am under no obligation to help.
> How do others see this?
> ~Alan Klein
--Scott David Gray
reply to:
All men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's
character, give him power.

-- Abraham Lincoln

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