RE: DSM: Kirkdale School (was: troubles at PacVillage)

From: Liz Reid&Errol Strelnikoff (
Date: Sun Jun 10 2001 - 14:26:26 EDT

> Do find similarities between Kirkdale's student government
> and a School
> Meeting? When the student government was operating, were
> there any limits
> on its powers? What sort of decisions did the government
> make? How were
> the rules the government made enforced at the school?

Kirkdale school did not have a student government. It didn't have any
government which is why some people have told me it was anarchic rather
than democratic. It seems to be difficult for people to get their minds
around this concept that there wasn't anyone in charge. Certainly not
the grown-ups. What may have made a difference was that there were
almost no kids coming in from the outside, most of the kids had been at
the school since they were toddlers. Freedom and autonomy was a part of
the school's culture and taken forgranted. By the time I got to the
school it was already a very mature culture.

There were rules that someone had made at some stage, probably the older
kids that had already moved on to other schools, I know that these older
kids did have school meetings. These rules involved going off campus.
We had to pass a traffic test that involved crossing the street safely.
We all wanted to pass this test because we wanted to be able to walk to
the sweet shop to spend our bus money on candy. Until we could pass
this test we had to talk an adult into taking us. I don't remember
anyone ever breaking this rule so I don't know how it was enforced or if
it really was enforced.

I remember one time when the staff succeeded in talking us into doing a
meeting the one thing that we all really wanted was bigger school
lunches. At least we thought that was what we wanted. In reality there
was so much food wasted after the cook decided to oblige that this rule
faded away like the meeting.

> > I don't remember the school
> > doing terribly nice things to us, but then we were way too
> busy having a
> > terribly fun time.
> Maybe I'm cynical, but any time a school lets a student do
> what they want, I
> consider that doing something terribly nice. :)

Then from that point of view the school was terribly nice to us all the
time! But we didn't see it as the school being anything to us as we
were the school and we didn't feel like we were particularly "nice" to
ourselves. We were just very busy doing our stuff.

> any case, we may have just stumbled on to something new -
> perhaps Sudbury
> does a better job than free schools of producing students
> that are aware of
> when they have offended or injured another, and take personal
> responsibility
> for having done so.

I'm confused here. Are you saying that Sudbury is *not* a free school?
I realise that the word free school is used to describe many types of
schools some more and some less free. But I had always thought that
Sudbury schools were not averse to being called free schools.

Are you also saying that I am not very aware when I have offended and
not so good at taking personal responsibility for having done so? If
you are then I would have to say you are right! But I don't blame that
on the school. I take responsibility for my own education. I guess it
hasn't been that important to me or I would be better at it. Had I had
the opportunity to allow Sudbury to produce me do you think I would be
better at it?



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