Tue, 9 Jan 2001 20:46:01 EST
In a message dated 1/8/01 3:58:03 PM Eastern Standard Time,
> I want to just point out to you that the idea that attempting to persuade
> children to pursue something they're not interested in *damages* them is a
> fundamental premise of the model, and I know the premise is true because I
> see and live what happens when you don't do it every single day.
I feel this issue of damage is very interesting. We might simply define
"damage" as a person being unable to respect or recognize boundaries between
themselves and others.
I have listened to a staff member (who has more than 10 years staffing in the
model) describe in (gushing overtones) that one of the students at an SM
school is "Mr. School".
I also talked with a founding staff member at another SM school who also now
has had over 10 years experience in the SM model. They described the students
as basically being "integral" or fragmented. Their experience was that even
one or two "fragmented" or non-"integral" students could seriously demoralize
the community. Their view was that some limited amount of "healing" may take
place, but that it was hard on the community. They suggested that the clearer
view of an SM school is that the school is a place where well children can
become free, rather than a place where damaged or "fragmented" children can
heal or become "integral". Their experience was that basically the school was
not designed or built to be a curative place.
That the second staff person is generally correct. That an SM school is not
primarily a curative place.
Certainly the comments of the frist staff member would support the hypothsis.
If the school model is not curative for the students, it also appears to be
the same for staff members. The ability to characterize a student in such a
way (after more than 10 years in the model) really strongly supports the
Given that the institution is not curative for either student or staff, the
community must simply deal or not deal with the level of function or
disfunction that student or staff present. The community as school becomes
(among other things) a searching and sorting algorithm, seeking out a set of
folks with like or complementary levels of "damage".
I wonder how many students and staff present at the school house door too
"damaged", too "fragmented". I wonder what the rough percentage of "integral"
to "damaged" is.
A most interesting question is where does this "damage" come from. It
presents at the school house door, but lots of observers think the
disfunction is passed down, mostly in the first three years of life, and
within the family.
For a discussion of family systems theory:
Virginia Satir : "People Making"
Robert Firestone: "The Fantasy Bond"
Alice Miller: "Drama of the Gifted Child"
Judith Brown: "I Only Want What's Best For You"
Sidney Jourard: "The Transparent Self"
For a discussion on "damage":
Arthur Janov: "The Feeling Child"
Stephen Levine: "Healing unto Life and Death"
I have also listened to another staff member (who also has more than 10 years
staffing in the model) describe in (gushing overtones) that one of the
students is "Mr. School".
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