Re: Question

Teresa Gallagher (hypercog@connix.com)
Fri, 17 Apr 1998 19:22:17 -0400

Scott David Gray wrote:
> smoking rules are decided democratically by the
> School Meeting (both students and staff), and then must comply with local
> laws and regulations by the fire department. There is a single "Smoking
> Room" at Sudbury Valley; smoking is allowed _only_ in that one room.

Is the air in the smoking room vented to the outdoors? If so, that
would be OK. Otherwise, I probably have to rule the school out for my
son, who has serious allergy problems.

I do have a problem with the general premise that this type of issue
should be democratically decided. As our country is set up, the wishes
of the majority are checked by the rights of minorities (e.g. bill of
rights). Extending that concept, a growing minority of kids have
serious allergies and/or asthma, and exposure to smoke causes a great
deal of discomfort and suffering for these kids. I know because I was
one, and my husband ended up in the hospital as a child largely because
exposure to smoke. I believe that kids have a basic right not to be
hurt by other people, and that includes being hurt by other people's
smoke. Deciding smoking policy by democratic rule is teaching the kids
that it's OK to hurt others as long as the majority vote to do so. Of
course, some people still don't realize that second-hand smoke causes
painful tissue damage (swelling and bleeding) in sensitive people, and
think of it more as a nuisance or smell, which is one reason why
conflicts arise on this issue.

Now I'm interested, does the school have the equivalent of a bill of
rights?

-Teresa