DSM: JC and SM

Marko Koskinen (marko@vapaus.net)
Sun, 04 Mar 2001 22:44:13 -0500

I would like to start some discussion about alternative approaches to
Judicial Committee and the School Meeting.

My biggest critique is towards the JC. It works fine as it is and it
does it's job well as such, but I think that it might not be the best

The reasons for this are that I consider JC to lack the ability to focus
on the problems, but rather focus on the results of the problems. When
someone does something "illegal", there usually is some reason for it
and I can't see how punishments could be the best alternative to solve
them. I would think that any system that bases it's order in
punishments, bases it's order in fear. Third issue is that JC leaves the
problem solving totally to the "guilty" person. The bad feeling about
"doing something wrong" isn't enough, but the person will have to deal
it on his/her own.

Now, I would think that there might be some better alternatives for
problem solving than JC. We have been discussing this at our starting
list and here's something that we've thought about.

Instead of JC there would be some amount of staff or students who would
be assigned as "problem solvers" and in any case where somebody would
feel bad about something or someone, they could go to one PS and tell
about it. Then the PS would gather all people involved in the problem
and let them deal with the problem on their own, unless they want
someone to be a "chair" in the negotiation, in which case they could ask
that person to join their "problem solving session". This session would
consist of each participant telling about their involvement in the
problem and their feelings about it. The session would go on until the
problem would be solved. If the group comes to a conclusion that someone
has done something wrong, then it would be up to that person to figure
out how to make up with it. Nobody else would be allowed to "punish"
that person. If the person doesn't undo the problem satisfyingly then
the problem would probably be brought up again.

This kind of procedure would free the school meeting of any
"unnecessary" involvement in private problems and give it more time to
handle issues that deal with the whole community and the running of the

This "problem solving method" would still hold everybody responsible of
their own actions, but wouldn't leave them alone with it. It would make
people closer to each other due to intimate discussion about feelings
and problems rather than seperating them with punishments. It would also
focus on the problem rather than the result of the problem. This would
also free much time from "unnecessary" bureaucracy and bring the
problems more to a personal level.

I would love to hear about your thoughts about this issue and if someone
has tried this kind or similar approach that would also be interesting.


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