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Document Type

Special Section 1

Theme

A LOOK INSIDE THE CLASSROOMS OF THE LEAGUE OF DEMOCRATIC SCHOOLS

Abstract

School has been in session for a month; the ten- and eleven-year-old students are in the middle of a class meeting. The issue is whether or not to have a class pet, a decision that these students invariably choose to take on each new school year. Some students are already imagining a gerbil inhabiting a cage in the corner. However, as the class votes on a proposal to have a pet, one student casts a dissenting vote, not a vote of slight disapproval, but a vote of “zero,” indicating his vehement opposition to the proposal. A collective groan of disbelief and disappointment fills the room as visions of a gerbil fade. Some class members begin to angrily interrogate the outlier, for he, while holding only one vote, given the consensus model used in this room, has the power to stand in the way of the group's decision.

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