Re: DSM: The Sudbury model -- appropriate for all children, yes or no?

From: Warren McMillan (warren@bmts.com)
Date: Thu May 31 2001 - 10:32:55 EDT


Ardeshir writes:
> In any case, consider the ideal situation: when *all* schools, every-
> where, are of the Sudbury type. To which other school are we going
> to expel such students, then?

Perhaps to no school. Perhaps the education of these students should become
*their* responsibility with help, if they ask, from their parents.

You might find it interesting that in here in Ontario the government has
intoduced stricter disciplinary standards in the public schools and have
anticipated increased expulsion of students by establishing seven
alternative schools to take them. It will be interesting to see whether
these schools will be stricter still ie. boot camps, or will take a
'therapeutic' approach. The government has made it clear that, if they
don't make it there, these students will be kicked out, period.

Warren

----- Original Message -----
From: Ardeshir Mehta, N.D. <ardeshir@sympatico.ca>
To: <discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org>
Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2001 9:05 PM
Subject: Re: DSM: The Sudbury model -- appropriate for all children, yes or
no?

> Hi there:
>
>
>
> Joe Jackson wrote:
>
> > ... In a Sudbury school,
> > the School Meeting sets up a list of rules democratically in order to
keep
> > the culture from falling apart, and decides some method for seeing to it
> > that individuals, regardless of whether they are staff or students,
can't
> > harm the culture by ignoring the standards the community they have
chosen to
> > be in have agreed to.
> >
> > If a student decides they cannot (or are not willing, depending on how
you
> > look at it) live by those standards, they cannot stay at the school.
> > Whether or not that is best for the suspended student (I believe it *is*
> > best for them) is irrelevent; the school cannot afford to have students
on
> > that always "get one more chance" unless everyone always "gets one more
> > chance", and then you don't have a school (at least one my kids would
want
> > to go to).
>
> I agree that giving "one more chance" is not productive. But
> is expulsion any more productive?
>
> I am sure there is an alternative to either of them.
>
> > In the "adult" world (ha, ha), if one cannot or is not willing to live
up to
> > our laws, they are put on probation or behind bars or something like
that.
> > This is the more accurate analogy that I believe Ardeshir was looking
for,
> > and so the answer to her question is, the school is sending the message
that
> > you are responsible for living up to what the culture you choose to live
in
> > agrees to. That is "taking responsiblity for yourself" - satisfying an
> > agreement you made when you decided to join a group of people.
Integrity.
>
> The answer of putting people behind bars is also not, I think,
> something that is productive. How many people who have been
> put behind bars, once they get out of prison, straighten out their
> lives? I would venture to say, only a small minority. The majority
> do not.
>
> > This other idea, that there are students that "can't handle" the freedom
of
> > the school, is an idea that's been invented by a few people on this list
> > within the past week (actually, I guess it's realistically been around
for
> > centuries - only "revived" on this list). Since the coop days before
> > Fairhaven opened, I have seen nothing to even suggest that these
students
> > exist. And frankly, the very idea that these students exist only leads
to
> > justifying the further subjugation of children.
>
> Here I agree.
>
> > I realize that there are lots of people that would look at a student
> > floundering or "hanging out" or "stagnating" at our schools and say,
"that
> > is not working", they "can't handle" freedom; this would be an incorrect
> > interpretation. Perhaps the adult in question doesn't, as per puritan
work
> > ethic or something, approve of allowing a student to "stagnate; perhaps
they
> > have never seen a student allowed to "flounder" long enough to see the
> > changes that follow extended "floundering": what kind of person the
student
> > becomes when given space.
>
> Quite right.
>
> > ... Then we move back to conversation 1A, which is based on the idea
that
> > Sudbury schools and conventional schools have ostensible differences in
how
> > they "deal with" students that can't take responsiblity for themselves.
In
> > the Sudbury school, the students and staff get together and decides
what's
> > OK and what's not, and if a student can't help but repeatedly do things
that
> > aren't "OK", they have to leave. Conventional schools set hard limits
as
> > well, but when a student repeatedly bumps into these limits the school
> > diagnoses the child and attempts to do what is necessary to "cure" them
> > (please chime in on this one, public school people).
>
> Well, I would hardly put "cure" in quotes. We surely need to find a
> way to integrate *all* people into a democracy. It is, IMO, hypocritical
> and offensive to claim that democracy is not for everyone. Smacks of
> fascism, to me.
>
> > So my reaction to conversation 1A is that I believe that the schools
that
> > respond to students who are not willing to take responsibility for
> > themselves by treating them as mental patients are not doing them a
service.
> > And that the Sudbury environment, which will not "engage" in that game
with
> > students who have not yet decided to look at themselves for their
> > unwillingness to take responsibility is, in my experience, much more
> > effective in leaving the student with no choice but to look inward for
that
> > unwillingness (or inability).
>
> It might be instructive to know what happened to students who
> were expelled from a Sudbury type of school. Did they get better,
> or worse, at taking responsibility for themselves when they grew
> up?
>
> In any case, consider the ideal situation: when *all* schools, every-
> where, are of the Sudbury type. To which other school are we going
> to expel such students, then?
>
>
>
> Ardeshir <http://homepage.mac.com/ardeshir/education.html>
>
> ************************************************************
>
>
>
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