RE: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model]

From: Scott David Gray <>
Date: Thu Apr 1 12:58:00 2004

On Wed, 31 Mar 2004, Sam Patton wrote:

> I've never heard anything negative about SVS. It sounds incredible in every
> way. Isn't there anyone who has found some flaw? Some disgruntled
> graduate?

I have. I mentioned it in my last email on this subject. I
suppose that the flaw was buried in descriptions of good
things -- but that's how some flaws are, being the negative
consequence of an otherwise positive thing. To reiterate --
a greater sense of personal responsibility can be a burden,
and in particular fighting for justice can lose one friends
when one is fighting fights that other people generally
wouldn't bother about.

> Do people ever get kicked out? Do you think the selection process may
> filter out people who wouldn't do well there? Is there something special
> about the people who go there that could explain the success of the system?

Yes. Very rarely, but it does happen (maybe once a year -
year-and-a-half on average?). And when it happens, it is
done with a very heavy heart. It is significant that one
person who was expelled wrote back to the school years
later, saying that his time at the school _and_also_ being
expelled from the school (and thinking about the reasons why
he was expelled) was significant in waking him up to take
charge of his life.

Every case I can recall of a student who was expelled, was a
student who enrolled in the school very late in his
schooling career. For people in their teenage years, they
sometimes have been so disillusioned by other schools that
they can't / won't trust the SVS community (heck, I enrolled
at 10 and it took me a couple years to start to trust SVS
after my public school experience!). And, of course, older
kids are often worried about the next chapter of their lives
-- many students who enroll at 14 are so busy looking _out_
the door at what they will do when they leave school, that
they don't relax and take the school for what it is. In
short, we've expelled a number of older students because of
some things that they lost prior to coming to SVS that --
sadly -- we weren't able to help them recover; trust, and
the ability to play.

I guess that it seems to me that SVS is a place where people
can be themselves, and let their natural instincts (to play,
to explor, to relax in a community of all ages) take over.
Some people have been in an unnatural toxic environment for
so long -- where there is no play, where rest is
'laziness,', where adults are 'the enemy' rather than 'part
of us' -- that they need a little time to shake off the
learned defenses / bahviors and take full advantage of the
school. And for a very small minority of people who have
come to us as teenagers, the damage is too deep for a them
to get in touch with themselves in a short period of time.

> I'm playing Devil's advocate because I want to have good responses to any
> objections that get brought up. I love everything I've read about SVS, but
> it seems too good to be true.

Reasonable questions.

No, the school is not a panacea for all ills -- but it is at
least always a place that 'does no harm.' This means that
people who have already learned toxic behaviors -- people
who have forgotten how to play, who don't respect themselves
or others -- have some things to let go of before they can
take full advantage of the school. I don't think that they
are worse off in SVS than they would be _remaining_ in the
toxic environement that they came from, but sometimes the
community finds _itself_ so beleagured by people who
continue to disrespect the people and the community around
them that _for_everyone_else's_sake_ the school, with heavy
heart, votes to expel.

> sam

--Scott David Gray
reply to:
Few things can help an individual more than to place
responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust
-- Booker T. Washington
Received on Thu Apr 01 2004 - 07:22:57 EST

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