The Highland School
Experiences in Democracy
A Sudbury democratic boarding and day school in West Virginia founded in 1981.
At The Highland School:
Individual rights and freedoms are protected.
Children develop into responsible adults through living in a democracy.
Children pursue their own interests through self-directed learning.
Daily life at THS is a process of individual growth, interactions with others, thoughtful decision-making and communication. Creative unstructured play is often a large part of daily interactions. Age mixing enriches the lives of both older and younger students. Through sharing ideas, debating beliefs, asking questions, and solving problems together, children learn easily from others' experiences. Whether spending time alone or interacting with Highland staff and students, each individual child can create a full life with independent choices and lasting friendships.
General School Meeting
The General School Meeting (GSM) is a fundamental part of our democratic process. Each person - student or staff - has one vote. The GSM creates all the rules. Rules are made by majority vote and can be changed at any time. If a meeting member doesn’t like a rule or thinks a new one needs to be made, the student brings up the issue at the GSM. School members have ownership of the rules because they take part in making them.
All school members are responsible for enforcing the GSM's rules. When a rule is broken or someone violates another’s rights, a complaint is written. Even the youngest child learns to write a complaint, often with the help of another school member.
Judging takes place within 24 hours of a complaint being written and due process rules are followed. Rights to appeal to the General School Meeting safeguard each individual's rights within the judicial process.