RE: DSM: reporting wrongdoing

Mary Ryan Thorup (
Fri, 09 Mar 2001 16:48:06 -0500

what do the students think of this debate?

From: Bruce Smith[]
Reply To:
Sent: Friday, March 09, 2001 1:51 PM
Subject: Re: DSM: reporting wrongdoing

>Now I am really confused. As I am beginning to understand the SV model
>it is based on individual freedoms for the child to explore ..... ect.
>Now you are saying that X does not have the right to walk on a frozen
>pond and that Y does not have the right to decide if he should suggest
>to X that it is not a really great idea, just watch X, or report X to
>some "higher authority" that runs X's life.

In Sudbury schools, an individual does not have the right to endanger
him/herself or others. This point has been made on this listserve before.
In this case, if it has been determined that the ice on the pond is
dangerously thin (there are procedures in place for determining and
announcing this), then walking on it violates that rule.

As for Y's culpability, individuals at Sudbury schools are held responsible
for the general welfare of the school. Not acting in a situation which
poses immiment danger to an individual's life would constitute gross
disregard for the welfare of the school -- not to mention the individual in
danger!! Surely the concept of a "good Samaritan" law is not an unfamiliar
one. That's what I see operating here.

>I am the type of parent who
>totally controlled the lives of his children, as much as I could, to
>prevent their ability to make these kind of "free will" choices. But I
>am the type of parent that believes that my children have no "
>fundamental right" to choose, period.

I find this statement surprising: in general, that it should come from
someone on this listserve; and specifically, in light of John's admitted
confusion. Should individuals have the right to endanger their own lives?
If not, then why the confusion over the rule that prohibits this? *I* am
confused at this apparent contradiction between his horror over SVS's
abominable personal safety rule ("the antithesis of individual freedom"),
and his equal horror at parents/institutions that would allow such
dangerous behavior to occur.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Thu Mar 29 2001 - 11:16:59 EST