For whatever it is worth, Free Schools are quite different from Sudbury models in many ways, though they come from similar educational roots. There is no "writing up", or Judiciary Commity (JC as it is called in Sudbury). Free
Schools themselves can vary quite a bit because part of the Free School philosophy is that each school should be suited to the particular group of kids and staff that are in each building as well as be suitable to the area that the school is located. (for example in a country or urban setting) There is a more flowing model.
I have to disagree that it works better if someone is there to kick out the "bad apples." It is about helping the community of children deal with issues as they arise and letting underlying dynamics between children come to the surface so that both children can be healed. It is incredibly important for a child who is picking on others to be stopped. It makes them feel safer in there own body. It is also an important life lesson for the other child to feel that they are capable of stopping the child picking on them. It is amazing to see the confidence grow in children who learn the lesson of stopping someone who is offending /hurting them. (At Free Schools there is support from staff or other children as needed, but not instead off the child involved). Some Free Schools use restoritive justice type meetings or mediation as methods to help children solve problems.
I guess I just wanted to respond also that i think it is sad to see any child referred to as a bad apple. It makes me think of who has failed them in their lives and what others can do to help heal that child. It takes a while, i know, but it also, when done well, instills a true sense of understanding and compassion in all of the children, creating true community.
I just have to disagree that this model of school would work better if these kids were quickly kicked out. I think that a good director/staff will be honest about when and if they can take a kid like this on, and if they do, be keenly aware of their whereabouts and relationships to the other kids. trust is not handed out, but should be earned, slowly, as a child learns the Free School environment and the school community gets to know the kid.
no judgments to you, EllenC, but I just had to share my feelings on this.