Frames – not rules
In Tvind we say that we do not have rules. Rules imply prohibition and, many times, do not promote the understanding of the issue. In Tvind, we call them “frames” - like the frames around an empty canvas. Within the frames our goals can be achieved in a number of colourful ways.
In order to ensure the best possible conditions for the program at DNS, the teachers council has from the start set frames regarding alcohol and drug use while in the program:
- Nobody who participates in the program can take alcohol while carrying out the program.
- Nobody who participates in the program can be involved with euphoric or narcotic substances.
This applies whether you are at school, travelling, on home travel, or in Africa, or India, during travel and work periods.
In short, it applies all the time.
- Former drug users must have been free of heavy drugs for a minimum of 18 months before the program starts.
The main arguments for our frames are:
Re. 1) and 2) Learning about and investigating the present-day reality is both physically and mentally demanding, and so is taking action as a consequence thereof. Drugs and alcohol will be a hindrance to the implementation of the program and an impediment to the social life and comradeship between people during the program. Moreover, the program also takes place in countries with severe punishment for possession of drugs.
Re. 3) The experiences of the school and its participants have shown that students who have been drug addicts have the best possibilities of completing the program to their full benefit when they have been free of drugs for a longer duration before the program.
The political reasons for our “no drugs, no alcohol” policy
The predominant culture of the modern societies relies on the use of alcohol and drugs. Drinking alcohol is usually socially accepted, while drugs are penalized and its consumers are - many times - marginalized. However, the fact is that both alcohol and drugs can have extremely negative impacts on human beings’ lives, on families, as well as on communities and societies. The schools in Tvind, due to their contra-cultural nature, promote an environment free of alcohol and drugs, and strive to build a different kind of culture.
Alcohol, even though it is considered a legal substance, kills more teenagers than all other drugs combined. Of the 490 million people in the European Union, 23 million are dependent on alcohol. Behind these numbers, there are human beings, and whole families, who struggle against the dependency. However, alcohol is a business that enriches the pockets of multinational corporations, and its use is well rooted in our world. The alcohol culture is so predominant that whole societies focus on its consumption, turning the human interactions superficial and meaningless.
In many European university campuses students are introduced to alcohol and drugs from the very moment they arrive. If they refuse to participate in this culture, they become excluded and even bullied. At DNS and Tvind in general, we cannot accept that the use of alcohol and drugs are related with social life and the acquirement of knowledge in a school setting. In Tvind, every single person is included and appreciated, and honest human relationships are valued and assured. It is in fact a political statement which seeks to oppose the contemporary unequal societies and a cultural alternative to the mind numbing escapism through drugs and alcohol.
Promoting a clean environment
Problems related to alcohol and drugs are easy to find within our modern societies and unfortunately, some of the youngsters that live at the youth schools in Tvind have experienced some of those problems on a very close level. Either by abusing drugs and alcohol themselves at a very young age, or by growing up in dysfunctional families with massive problems due to harmful use of alcohol or drugs, or both. These youngsters need the opportunity to live in, and be active part of, a clean and safe environment – free of any harmful activity that jeopardizes their development. It is the teachers’ – and future teachers’ – responsibility to understand this issue and seek for solutions, as well as to embrace the fight for a clean and safe environment in Tvind.
In DNS we are Activists!
During our three years’ DNS educational program, we face, study and experience so many different realities, injustices, poverty and unequal life conditions that we feel obliged to react and to work for solutions and improvements at a local and global level.
Our daily life is full of different activities, from travels to studies, from meetings to events; and the inertia and apathy provoked by alcohol and drugs are simply not compatible with our lifestyle and great goals. We do not think that the use of such substances enable us to work so hard on the improvement of our surroundings and the world. We, as global citizens, want to assure that we do our best to work on the development of the life of the ones close to us, and the ones that we meet along our journey.