DSM: Re: Judicial Committee and School Meeting

Marko Koskinen (marko@vapaus.net)
Mon, 05 Mar 2001 19:52:07 -0500

> This is the problem I have (well, one of them, but worth thinking
> about, because it sort of makes the rest fall into place): I don't think the
> kids at SVS would go for your system, Marko. I think they are just fine
> with what they have.

This is very possible, and it would be interesting to find out... =) But
even if we did, that wouldn't tell which of the systems was better, if
such cathegorizing can be used. The SVS students are certainly used to
the system and it probably doesn't bother them much, but as I'm planning
to start a totally new school, I'll have to think about these questions
and I won't have any other tool or proof than reasoning.

> And it has a few advantages. One is that the two-to-tango
> idea (takes two parties to have a dispute) only applies to a really small
> percentage of the complaints.

One solution might be as I probably wrote somewhere that the PS (Problem
Solver) could ask the person who has admitted violating some rules, what
would s/he propose for a solution. Usually people given a chance to find
a solution for their own misbehavior, will figure out reasonable
solutions. And the attitude of the community should be IMO to ask "how
can we support you that you will find other ways to behave or to stop
such behavior" (in case the person want's to change his/her behavior),
rather than just figure who's guilty and punish that person and let
him/her find out him/herself the solution on his/her own.

> Another is that most kids are not worried
> about moral issues when they have complaints against them.

What did you mean by this?

> A third is
> that there is no one in a JC environment set up to be an authority -- even
> a temporary authority -- to deal with these things;

Except the JC itself. It is just a substitute for an arbitrary
authority. I can't see the philosophical difference. The only difference
IMO is that it is much more harder to fight against peers than against
the authority.

> But the main thing is that I think kids like having consequences which flow from
> their actions

I agree totally and not just for kids, but all people. But this doesn't
make the punishments any more acceptable. Effort to solve the problem
and change behavior is just as much a consequence as a punishment, but
it would focus on the problem instead of the result.

>, and being able to be done with an act once the consequences
> are over.

Why's this, if not because of the moral stand the community offers.
Nobody wants to be punished and nobody wants to be forced to do
"consequences" unless these consequences help/support the person to find
better alternatives for behavior that upsets others.

> I don't think SVS students consider themselves good or bad. Just people who do
> some things they shouldn't oughta sometimes. Like me and probably you.

But if somebody/something (community) gives itself the right to punish
that person for what s/he did, then it becomes a moral issue.

> Also, the therapeutic role is, of course (and I know you must know that from
> the literature) not one the school looks for or accepts. It allows us to
> hold people responsible for their actions without us being responsible for
> their psyches. Which seems to be what you object to! But not I.

Yes, this is probably the main problem for me in SM. IMO all people
should take responsibility for everything. This is due to the fact that
everything relates to everything, one way or another. And if someone
refuses to take responsibility of some particular issue, that issue may
affect all the other issues thus making the person unable to take
responsibility of anything. We should stop looking at things as objects
and see everything as a system, 'cause that's what it is. It is
impossible to isolate one part of the world from all the rest and study
(or take or not to take responsibility of) it objectively.

And when we think the responsibility issue, there's no need for one to
"take responsibility of one's actions", because that's inevitable.
Everything one does effects the system and because the actor is part of
the system, everything one does affects oneself. The idea of
responsibility is probably due to the idea of seperation of man and
environment. Such dualism is illusionary and shouldn't be used as a
cause for action.

> What anyone wants to get to be, or is, can be up to them.

I totally disagree (if I understand you correctly). As I wrote in
another post, human consciousness is just a cultural product and the
free will is actually very limited depending on our physical and social
environment. I would say free will is also illusionary, because in every
situation we choose the best alternative we have for that situation and
the alternatives are constructed using the knowledge we have. Thus, in
any situation we have total of one choice.

> They just have to be able to be reasonable citizens, and the rest can be
> totally their own invention.

But doesn't this base on fear. I mean that if they are not reasonable
citizens, they will be kicked out. If their past hasn't been good enough
to provide them with enough attention to come up with reasonable
behavior, they have no choice but to leave. I just think there are
better alternatives.

> Certainly Sudbury schools make no claims to
> shape the people who attend them.

Of course it does... The books about SVS are full of things how this and
that influences the people. If this is not "shaping" them, then what is?
It is just a question of HOW we want to shape others.

> Only to require a certain level of social
> responsibility from them, a level that the community insists on.

I guess I think this requirement is too harsh. I believe Sudbury schools
can be made for everyone, not just people who are already capable of
being responsible of themselves.

As I wrote in another post, I consider SVS to be a great place, but
there are some aspects that I might want to do differently in our
school. But that's a thing that time will tell... =)


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