RE: [Discuss-sudbury-model] R rated stuff, etc.

From: Alan Klein <alan_at_klein.net>
Date: Sat May 15 17:04:00 2004

Sally,

You raise several interesting questions.

From a school point of view, a student is a student is a student. While
guilds/clubs/corporations can set regulations for the use of equipment
and other resources, they need to be relatively objective standards,
without regard to age, in my opinion.

I wonder how many democratic schools would allow unrestricted access to
XXX-rated videos, of the kind you mention the 7 year old boy having
seen. Probably none.

My youngest is now 18. She and I have always shared an interest in
edgier material, understanding that "edgier" is a relative term. As a
young, young child, we used to watch "Eerie, Indiana". As she got older,
it was "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". (Of course, we also watched "7th
Heaven"...go figure!)

When she was one and a half, she came to see me in a community theater
production of "Chicago". I played Mary Sunshine, which in the musical is
a male dressed as a female, who gets unmasked at the end. At
intermission, she came down with her mother to the Green Room. I picked
her up and held her as a group of people were talking. After a while, I
said something fore the first time. She looked up at me in shock and
burst out crying! (We are thinking that she is almost ready to enter
Regression Hypnosis Therapy to figure out what was going through her
mind when she heard her father's voice coming out of a woman's body!

The next year, at two and a half, Kelly came to the dress rehearsal of
"Sweeney Todd". I was the first person to be killed by Sweeney. It was
rather dramatic as the chorus was singing, Sweeney was bellowing, and I
got into the barber chair. He laid a white sheet across me and "slit my
throat". Blood came pouring out of the fake razor we had made and down
the white sheet. He pulled a lever and my lifeless body slid down a
chute into the Meat Pie shop below. As I hit the bottom of the chute I
heard a voice cry out, "Daddy!!" Fortunately it was intermission time
and she came down to the Green Room and saw that I was OK, though for
the next few weeks she did not like me going to my "Sweeney show".

I relate all this to say that she has not been scarred for life, but
rather is an incredibly rounded, creative, intellectual, dancing,
singing, writing, caring, scholarly person. My belief and experience is
that it is not the images that are disturbing in and of themselves, but
it is our reaction to them that is disturbing. Granted, some images are
more likely to provoke a disturbance and some are more likely to provoke
peacefulness. But the disturbance is no more IN a gory image than the
peacefulness is IN a picture of the sunset. The emotions reside in us.

~Alan Klein

-----Original Message-----
From: Sally Rosloff
I am frustrated and once again feeling somewhat defensive at the
replies. I come here because so many of you have such a depth of real
experience with free democratic schools. I need to bounce my own
evolving
understanding against that of folks who are ahead of me. In the past
two
months I have read everything I can find online, have bought and read
about
7 books from SVS and have been having long conversations. I am part of
a
group wanting to start a new school and I am the primary person bringing

the ideas of a free school to people who have not yet gone there. But
the
paradigm shift for me, although growing in me for a long time, is
relatively new and there are aspects of the paradigm I am still working
to
"get."

I beg your patience. Please do not perceive my questions as
adversarial...I am not sniping at "your" schools, I am not challenging
the
model, I am not a traditional person putting down these ideas. But I
have
not yet lived them fully and I am still working to "get" the
edges. Perhaps the way I write comes off that way but I feel that many
of
you assume something of me that I am not and it doesn't feel good. I
feel
as if I am being put down even if, Joe, you didn't mean that I am
misguided
when you talked of misguided adults.

Several of you wrote long replies about the benefits of playing video
games. Why? I agree with it all. I was asking about a specific point
around the graphic violence of some of them and how that might affect
very
young children, specifically 5 to 7 year olds. What about my questions
triggered long lectures about any child playing any video game? That is

what is exasperating to me.

I asked those questions because I genuinely need to gain a new
understanding not because I am absolutely entrenched in my understanding
to
date. I've brought all this up with my 18 year old and he basically
agrees
with you all and we had a great conversation around it that was very
helpful. I realized that I have been thinking of some isolated
incidents
that bothered me and perhaps generalizing too much and not taking into
account the supportive respectful climate of the sm schools that can
then
deal with any negative feelings that arise. There was a time I was at
an
elementary school where a 7 year old boy had said to a couple of 6 year
old
girls, "Do you want to suck my cock?" The girls reported it and the boy

was brought to the office. It turned out that he had been exposed to
hard
core pornographic movies at a babysitter's house. I got to thinking of
all
that young children can and are exposed to these days that didn't used
to
happen before videos, dvds, cable, etc. Young children are now exposed
to
disturbing, graphic material that didn't used to be available and I
wonder
if that has an impact we should think about...that is basically what I'm

trying to work through.

Of course that doesn't mean that we wait until they are 18 to bring up
anything. Of course children have to begin to wrestle with the hard
issues
of the world and evolve their understanding as well. And in a
supportive
respectful environment they can do this. I was worrying about the
environment most of these children are actually in which doesn't support

their process. But I'm realizing that is a separate issue.

I am curious if you think that children having the same rights and
freedoms
as adults applies outside of school as well, or is there are any
limits...it's hard for me to see from your answers so far that you thing

there are any. Are 5 to 7 year olds able to consent to sexual activity
with children older than their age mates? Say a 6 year old and an 11
year
old? Do any of you see any difference between what persons of any age
may
choose to do? So is it okay for any age person to smoke, drink alcohol,

watch hard core porn, etc? I am deliberately going to the extreme
because
it seems to me the answers I am getting keep saying that people of any
age
know what is good for them and will choose accordingly and it isn't
quite
making sense to me yet where there might be a line, if any.

Even given that I am asking this way, some of your answers are giving me

pause and I am beginning to shift here as well. Dan, thank you for the
book suggestion, I will get and read it. I apologize for any waste of
time
in reinventing the wheel...the subject may keep coming up but it is
relatively new for me....I haven't been doing this for 35 years. I have

read many of your books now and while the freedom of learning aspect has

been wonderfully addressed I haven't had this issue addressed enough in
what I have read or I wouldn't be asking it now.

Also, Joe, I have heard enough 5 year olds asking about something they
are
watching "Is this real" to wonder about their understanding of it. I
have
focused my questions on young children because of the experiences I have

had there, buy my experience is not vast and may be skewed.
Received on Sat May 15 2004 - 17:03:17 EDT

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