We call them “Frames” – not rules
Rules imply prohibition and often do not promote the understanding of the issue. At DNS, and the Tvind campus in general, we call them “FRAMES” – like the frames around an empty canvas. Within the frames, our goals can be achieved in several colourful ways.
To ensure the best possible conditions for the programme at DNS, the teachers’ council has set frames which apply throughout the programme. The frames are few but simple:
- You must take an active part in the programme.
- You cannot drink alcohol during the programme.
- You cannot use narcotic substances, including cannabis during the programme.
This applies whether you are at the school, travelling, at home, or in Africa, or India, during travel and work periods.
In short, it applies all the time. Former users of heavy drugs, including prolonged use of recreational drugs, must have been clean for a minimum of 18 months before starting the programme, including the optional saving-up period.
More about the “No drugs, no alcohol” policy
Learning about and investigating the present-day reality is both physically and mentally demanding, and so is acting upon these realities. Drugs and alcohol will be a hindrance to the implementation of the programme and an impediment to the social life and comradeship between people during the programme.
Moreover, the programme sometimes takes place in countries with severe punishment for possession of drugs.
The experiences of the school and its participants have shown that students who previously have had extensive use of narcotic drugs have the best possibilities of completing the programme to their full benefit when they have been free of drugs for a more extended period (18 months) before starting the programme.
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 penalised, and its consumers are often stigmatised.
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 culture in Europe
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 might become excluded, ridiculed and even bullied.
An inclusive community
At DNS and Tvind in general, we cannot accept that the use of alcohol and drugs are related to 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 create 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 an active part of, a clean and safe environment – free of any harmful activity that jeopardises 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.
DNSers are activists
During our four years educational programme, 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 induced by alcohol and drugs are not compatible with our lifestyle and great goals. We don’t think that the use of such substances enables 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.
The “No alcohol, no drugs” policy is in fact a political statement which seeks to oppose the contemporary unequal societies and create a cultural alternative to the mind-numbing escapism through drugs and alcohol.
“I’m a person just like you, but I’ve got better things to do, than sit around and smoke dope, because I know that I can cope.”
Ian MacKaye, Minor Threat
punk rocker, writer of “Straight Edge” lyrics
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.