Last week we had a trial that raised some interesting questions about the age-old problem of individual rights vs. community - an intense philosophical, political, and metaphysical problem that still vexes human society and makes the news every day.
In a certain respect, Sudbury is an experiment in finding the balance between individual and community; individuals have freedom, but that freedom is limited by the freedom of others. Sudbury thus hangs - like the rest of nature - in a delicate balance, and that balance is protected by our justice system.
Here’s what happened: the Judicial Committee needed a replacement member, and the next student on the list was asked to serve. He was in the middle of something and initially refused. This is a clear violation of the JC policies; service is not optional. After a minute or so of haggling, though, he consented, and reported to the JC room in an angry huff. He stormed in, did not answer a friendly greeting, plopped into a seat, and glared. He did not vote on the first item that came up, and when he was asked if “this is the way it’s going to be,” he responded, “yeah, I’m pissed off.” JC then decided to replace him. Later, he was charged with violating JC rules and procedures, essentially because he disrupted their process and ultimately refused to participate. He plead Not Guilty.