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

From: Warren McMillan (warren@bmts.com)
Date: Thu May 31 2001 - 11:38:47 EDT


Alan writes;
>What more are you
> asking for?

I think Adeshir and I, correct me if I am wrong, are discussing the few on
the edge in order to see where the Sudbury policy goes if you push it to its
extreme. Just testing the limits. At least that is my take on it.

Warren

----- Original Message -----
From: A&A Mitter-Burke <aamb@mediaone.net>
To: <discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org>
Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2001 10:45 AM
Subject: Re: DSM: The Sudbury model -- appropriate for all children, yesor
no?

> Warren & Adeshir,
>
> As a parent of three students, I am a member of the Assembly of Sudbury
> Valley School and therefore get mailed to me a copy of each graduating
> student's written defense of the thesis that they have "taken
responsibility
> for preparing him/herself to be an effective adult in the community at
> large". It is a fascinating exercise which I have witnessed close-up for
> three years now, and this year there were almost twenty who went for it (I
> think a relatively high number?).
>
> A typical thesis of someone who came to SVS as a teenager includes a
> description of their alienation wherever they were before and the
liberation
> they experienced at SVS. But a variation on that theme is the "brush with
> the law" theme, in which this person discovers that SVS is a highly
> rule-driven place where infractions bring you into confrontations with
your
> peers instead of arbitrary adult authority figures.
>
> And the justice meted out by these peers is tediously incremental,
detailed
> records are kept and compared with successive infractions, and involves
> extensive determination and discussion of the facts with one's peers.
> Non-arbitrary, non-adult, a rotating committee of one's peers, on which
each
> will eventually serve.
>
> Patterns of repeated infractions can snowball, over time, into a
suspension
> for a few days, or (my favorite) an "indefinite suspension" through which,
> as I understand it, not only (as with all suspensions) does the kid have
to
> do the leg work of arranging for both his parents to come to a suspension
> conference with a specially-appointed suspension committee (composed, I
> think, of a couple students and a staff member), in which the situation is
> thoroughly discussed...
>
> ...but then the student has to go back before the School Meeting and make
a
> presentation of why they should be let back in, upon which there is a
vote.
> A "no" vote (the exception, not the rule) at that point doesn't expel the
> kid, it just says, "We're not convinced that you're ready, go think about
it
> some more, and come back and try again."
>
> And several theses each year include tales of catharsis in which this very
> reasonable treatment gets through to the previously impenetrable kid who
has
> an "aha!" experience and things fundamentally change going forward. And
> once in a great while (have there been any this year?) they don't get it
> after several tries and are expelled as the result of some major
> transgression.
>
> My point is that it's *tediously* incremental, it's fact-driven, it's
> kid-driven, and it's rare that anyone gets expelled. What more are you
> asking for?
>
> -Alan Mitter-Burke
>
>
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