Surely the people matter more. After all, systems arise in order to help people as their justification. And yet, we often blame people for failing to meet the needs of systems, when really, we should blame systems for failing to meet the needs of people.
In schools, this happens when teachers and parents demand to know why children don’t conform to the school’s expectations, whether or not it truly helps, no matter how much suffering it causes. Yet wouldn’t it make more sense to demand the system conform to the student’s needs?
Systems are a tool, and like any tool, they’re only useful so long as they accomplish what we want. We should be as ready to discard a broken system as we are to discard a broken hammer.
The institution of a Sudbury school is a system infinitely adaptable to any particular student’s needs and interests. Freedom and flexibility allow that. We base our system around the students. We don’t expect the students to conform to any one stringent system.