RE: [Discuss-sudbury-model] New to Sudbury-Cottage Grove, OR

From: Joseph Moore <>
Date: Thu May 29 14:48:00 2003

Can't speak for anybody else, but at our school (DVS), it is the State of
California that has the attendance requirements, so, even if we wanted to be
completely 'non-coercive' in not requiring any attendance, the State is not
so inclined. The school becomes, in effect, an agent of the state's coercive

But apart from externally imposed coercion (if that's the right term),
there's the issue of a Sudbury model school's 'life' or 'culture'. In a more
perfect world, where people's rights, and specifically children's rights,
were more widely respected, it is conceivable that Sudbury schools might
evolve into the ultimate 'open campus' where anybody who was willing to
abide by the cultural norms would be free to come and go as they wished. But
in the current world, anything like open access is very disruptive to the
little island of democracy and freedom we're trying to provide for our kids.
Many people - I include myself in this group - don't instinctively know how
to behave around free kids. We adults tend to take their subservient
position for granted, in lots of subtle and no so subtle ways.

So, on the one hand, people who are not members of the School Meeting are
not allowed free access - even a parent is not welcome to just hang out any
time they wish (although most spend a few minutes at pick-up and drop-off,
they don't just hang out all day.) On the other hand, kids come to our
school largely from traditional school backgrounds, in which they were
mercilessly bossed about and micromanaged. They - like many of us adults! -
are sometimes ill-prepared to deal with actual freedom and responsibility.
They, too, can be disruptive of the culture, if they spend their time
looking for who is in charge so that they can please or defy them - standard
M.O. for traditional schools.

Given the above - that Sudbury Schools are islands of difference in a often
hostile sea of disrespect for kids - it would seem like a good idea to only
allow in kids who are willing to commit to being at school enough to absorb
the culture. In other words, some level of physical presence may be
reasonably required to give the (sadly foreign) culture of freedom and
responsibility a chance to take hold.

That said, if a kid comes along and says: I cannot be bound by your school's
silly attendance requirements, then I'd bet we'd all be impressed by her
clarity of mind and wish her well in her life pursuits. But if she's not
willing to be there the minimum amount of time required by the State and
deemed good by the community, then she will need to follow her muse without
become a school member.

These are just one's opinions, here.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kelly Reynolds []
> Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2003 10:49 AM
> To:
> Subject: RE: [Discuss-sudbury-model] New to Sudbury-Cottage Grove, OR
> > "Non-Coercive Schools?
> >
> > Why John Holt was right that schools are not and cannot be
> non-coercive,
> > unless each child has a genuine choice about whether or not
> to attend.
> > Why 'free schools' like Summerhill and the Sudbury Valley
> School are not
> > non-coercive. If you hope that it might be possible to set up a
> > non-coercive school, you cannot afford to miss this. You may, after
> > hearing what Sarah Fitz-Claridge has to say, choose to go
> ahead anyway,
> > but at least you will be under no illusions about what you
> are doing!"
> >
> This is an issue I have been having trouble with. I love the
> whole concept
> of Sudbury, but I do have a problem with the attendance
> requirement. Do all
> the Sudbury model schools have an attendance requirement?
> Are they at all
> flexible about this rule?
> Kelly Reynolds
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss-sudbury-model mailing list
Received on Thu May 29 2003 - 14:47:22 EDT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0 : Mon Jun 04 2007 - 00:03:05 EDT