RE: DSM: 60 Minutes Piece

From: Liz Reid&Errol Strelnikoff (
Date: Thu May 03 2001 - 14:09:16 EDT

I also enjoyed the sixty minutes piece, although I was a little disappointed
at first, but after reading the comments on this list I realise that my
expectations too high. My Dad thought it was very good. I don't have TV so
I have no idea what 60 minutes is like usually.

I have only my own experience at two free schools to compare it with and I
was surprised at a few different things. The main difference was that both
schools I went to only went to 12 years of age. There were so many
teenagers in the news piece and they have quite a presence, they really
filled the TV screen.

I think that the number of teenagers has bearing on the comment by one of
the girls that she likes school because it is so relaxing. I was amazed at
this comment as I don't think any of the kids at the schools I went to even
had an idea that relaxation was something people like to do! But she also
said that she had come from another school, where I suppose she wasn't

Which brings to mind one of the interesting aspects of many free schools;
you often have a mixture of kids who are there because their families live
by this kind of philosophy at home and they have always known it. And then
you have the children who come to these schools because the other schools
they have been to have been such disasters and the parents are willing to
try something different.

I couldn't help wondering what one of the teenagers who had spent all of
their school life at SV would have said. (Are there any?)

Another thing that surprised me and shouldn't have was that the rooms were
so full! I had heard that SV has not much indoor space and lots of outdoor
space, but it was something to actually see it! The weather there doesn't
help I guess. Even in London we had better outdoor weather as it hardly
ever went below freezing.

I live in California so when they showed the kids smoking I was so amazed
that I disbelieved it and thought that it was condensation from their breath
in the cold air. Smoking over here has just become so rare in public. When
you see someone smoking here in public it is as likely to be pot as
cigarettes as they do it covertly. It was only when reading the comments on
the list serve that I realised that they had actually been smoking.

When they showed the woman from the MA school board my six-year-old burst
out: "She's scary!" Rather fortunate that they picked her for the

I suppose my disappointment sprang from the fact that my children are young
and I would have liked to have been able to show my friends with children
the video. Most of us don't have TV at home, nobody owns computer games
yet. Once they become a part of our children's lives our thoughts on these
things will of course change. But for now we are all pretty happy not to
have them around. Of course it is always possible that our kids will
discover these things and be very upset at us for not having introduced them
to them all earlier, somehow I doubt it. It's amazing how you little you
actually miss things when they aren't around you.

Thank you SV for doing this. I was very happy to have a chance to see the

Liz Reid


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