"The debate that I listened to that day [at the Sudbury Valley School] was one befitting the Supreme Court of the United States. There was talk on the one hand of freedom of speech. Did freedom of speech include the right to wear a swastika? I remember one teenaged girl thoughtfully raising the question this way: "Suppose we ban the swastika? Does that mean we could also ban the hammer and sickle, under which terrible atrocities were committed? And what, then, about the American Flag? Some people might be offended by it, because of atrocities such as slavery and the mass murder of Native Americans that were committed under this banner. Once we start interfering with free speech, where do we stop?"
On the other side, several presented the argument that the swastika is a hate symbol in a way that the hammer and sickle or the flag of any other country is not. History was presented--not to teach history, but simply as part of the process of putting forth an argument that was directly germane to the decision that the group had to make. As the debate continued, the tension between the right of free speech and the right to freedom from offensive speech came into sharp focus."
These are the kinds of lessons learned in a Sudbury school that are never touched upon in a traditional school setting. These are the important lessons of life, the lessons that contribute to a successful, productive community. And they are learned organically, without coercion or adult interference.
Read the entire article here.