Guidelines and Expectations for Conduct

The Real School AKA Dragon Valley is a space where kids are free to make their own choices. This freedom necessitates responsibility to yourself, others, and the environment, as well as a willingness to communicate, cooperate, self-regulate, and assess your behavior and that of others.

The following is a general description of what these responsibilities mean at the school. These are behavioral expectations agreed upon by the community. We can not possibly list every behavior that is or is not acceptable in this community. It is each participant’s responsibility to utilize good judgment in respecting self, others, and the environment. These guidelines apply to community members of all ages (adults and children). We, of course, realize that members are at different stages of development and that this influences behavior.

Responsibility to Yourself:
Students decide how to spend their time. For many, a great deal of time will be spent on free and pretend play and on conversation with others. Those who want to learn a particular subject or skill are responsible for that as well. Though the community exists to support and empower learning, the student is still in charge of defining and pursuing their own personal and educational growth. This includes deciding what and how you want to learn, asking for help if you want it, declining help if you do not want it, and letting someone know if you need a different type of support. The focus is on empowerment and self-actualization. Staff at the school do sometimes make suggestions and offer assistance, but students are always free to decline.

Community members are also responsible for self-care. This includes cleaning up after yourself, using the bathroom, attending to your clothing and eating when you choose to. Certainly older community members are happy to help prepare food, tie shoes, get extra toilet paper, put band aids on stubbed toes, etc. But a child will not be instructed to eat because it is midday or to put on shoes because they are going outside.

While the whole community is committed to helping members stay safe, safety is also the responsibility of the individual. We want to support kids in finding and setting limits for themselves rather than simply responding to instructions or standards imposed by others.

Responsibility to Others:
An atmosphere of freedom requires respect. No individual is free to infringe upon others. No one in the community may verbally, physically, emotionally or sexually harass another person or in any way intentionally injure another person, animal or life form. Although the standard does not include self-defense, it does define it narrowly. Defending yourself does not necessitate retaliation. (For more, please read the Conflict Resolution section of the handbook.)

Members should respect the property of others. Do not use someone else’s stuff without asking. If you borrow something, return it; if you break it, let the owner know.

Community members are expected to honor commitments. If you agree to attend a class, do your very best to be there regularly. If you agree to help with a task, make sure it is done.

Participants are expected to behave with empathy, sensitivity and compassion. Even if you are angry, try to imagine yourself in the other person’s situation and avoid passing judgment.

Members are expected to acknowledge and take responsibility for their mistakes. It also means holding others accountable for their violations.

Responsibility to the Environment:
The physical plant and contents (buildings, yard, garden, furnishings, supplies and equipment) should be treated with care and respect. Members are expected not to intentionally break, destroy or misuse items in the school, and to avoid engaging in risky behavior that is likely to result in breakage or destruction (throwing balls in house, placing drinks near computer, etc.)

Members are expected to help with clean up and upkeep of the school and not to litter, pollute or waste resources.

In terms of noise, we strive to produce plenty of good noise and less bad noise, and to have some places be less noisy or even quiet.


The school does not allow any real weapons, illicit drugs, alcohol or cigarettes.

The school does not censor any form of speech or expression that is worthy of Constitutional protection. This protection does NOT include speech directed at another individual for the purpose of threatening or injuring that person.