Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Fw: [AshevilleSudbury] Admissions Policy

From: Bruce Smith <>
Date: Tue Apr 26 13:11:01 2005


I've staffed at three Sudbury schools over the past nine years or so. In
my experience, "open" admission means that everyone is considered,
regardless of previous labels, bad experiences, etc.

The screening that does occur is necessarily subjective, but focused. We
use the admissions/enrollment interview and the visiting period to assess
whether a prospective student can behave responsibly without constant,
over-the-shoulder adult supervision. Can they treat others with respect?
Can they handle disagreements without resorting to violence? Will they
follow through on their commitments? Will they respect the processes of
the school that keep it functioning (especially Judicial Committee and
School Meeting)? These are the sorts of questions that get asked.

But it's a lot more than rules and policies. The main reason Sudbury
schools tend to be nonviolent is the culture. People are _expected_ to act
responsibly by the entire community, not simply the adults. Physical
violence, and even verbal abuse, is taken extremely seriously.

That's not to say that there is never any violence, of course. Sometimes
new schools have to learn from experience not to be overly tolerant,
wanting to give students a number of second chances. But pretty soon every
school realizes that the line against disrespect must be drawn early and
clearly; and that discouraging or denying someone enrollment is sometimes
better for everyone in the long run.

I hope this helps.

Bruce Smith
Alpine Valley School, Colorado
Received on Tue Apr 26 2005 - 13:10:51 EDT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0 : Mon Jun 04 2007 - 00:03:12 EDT