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

From: Richard Berlin <rberlin_at_pacbell.net>
Date: Sun May 16 03:09:00 2004

> 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.

Perhaps a distinction could be made between an INDIVIDUAL (of any age)
knowing what is good for that individual, and a GROUP which is making
decisions for mutual benefit? In absence of outside pressure, it seems
to me that groups tend to make decisions which are much more moderate
and well-considered than individuals often do.

As far as your examples: no, it is not all right for any age person to
smoke, drink alcohol, watch hard core porn. Local laws cover that,
though.
Perhaps some parents or staff can cite counterexamples, but to my
knowledge,
schools don't operate as places where "local laws don't apply."
(Although
Sudbury Valley once had a smoking room, which makes me wonder what the
legal age was for buying tobacco at that time, and whether the rules
took that into account.) MPAA (movie) ratings do not have force of
law.
I think it's quite proper for the school meeting to set its own
guidelines.
But any rule which goes against city hall would have to be entered into
as a deliberate act of civil disobedience. I would think that the full
assembly might want a say if laws are going to be knowingly broken...?

In my work as an engineer, extremes (called boundary conditions) are
very valuable as mathematical guide points for validating solutions.
But in a public policy context, extremes bother me; I feel that they
don't inform the debate in the gray area, which is the only place
where the decision actually has much import. Should a six year old
be having sex? No...that's obvious. A six year old who is sexually
*functioning* probably has something physiologically wrong, and one who
decides that s/he wants to engage in sexual activity most likely has
something psychologically wrong. But I can't say the same about a 13
year old (even though I wouldn't want my 13 year old child having sex!)
This is where the decision gets hard...and 6 year olds hardly seem
relevant.
Current research and current social mores in the US both argue
against--and
I think laws in many states concur--but 200 years ago it was normal for
a
13 year old girl to be having sex, often with a man two or three times
her age.
Enlightenment? Or merely societal bias?

-- Rich
Received on Sun May 16 2004 - 03:08:07 EDT

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