Sudbury schools exist worldwide, with groups advocating liberty and responsibility for young people in Germany, Japan, Israel, the United Kingdom, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, and across the United States. New schools seem always to be starting, as traditional schools continue business as usual. Every single school that exists is a testament to hard work, trust, and commitment.
One sister school, De Kampanje in the Netherlands, has undergone a remarkable struggle in recent years just to operate their school. (For context, Dutch families who choose to home school risk jail terms. This is the level of government animus regarding educational freedom! A similar attitude prevails in Germany. Here in America, Sudbury schools experience a wide range of acceptance or opposition, depending upon state, town , and county regulations. Thankfully, Fairhaven School has always enjoyed a healthy relationship with the state of Maryland.) Our colleagues at De Kampnje recently lost a lengthy court case, causing great personal, institutional, and financial hardships. Nevertheless, the school continues, and for the time being, families continue to send their children. Colleagues at other European Sudbury schools are bracing for the possible repercussions of De Kampanje’s setback.
Here is a link to a blog post by Dr. Christel Hartkamp with her perspective on the experience. Reading this is equal parts sobering and inspirational, as bearing witness to important struggles always is.
We at Fairhaven School stand in solidarity with Christel, Peter, and the other remarkable people of De Kampanje, and we begin this school year with a new appreciation for the very real freedom we have enjoyed all of these years to operate our school exactly as we please.