Education: School of Hard Knocks

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Loyal Alumni. For students, the emotional turmoil can be difficult to take. Says Margie Malone, 17: "Everyone wants to run away from here sometime." In fact, each year about 50 students do run away—and 20 never return. Gauld blames the dropout rate on the parents' failure to uphold their pledge to make runaways return to Hyde. Margie ran away, but returned because "my mother stuck by her commitment. It brought us closer together."

Gauld believes all schools could benefit from his methods. For a while he gave up his headmaster post to travel around the country lecturing about Hyde, and he is now writing a book about it. As part of its proselytizing effort, the school also put on a traveling Bicentennial road show called America's Spirit. Starring Hyde teachers and pupils, the show played in Broadway's Circle in the Square theater because the theater's director, Ted Mann, is a Hyde parent.

Despite its small enrollment, Hyde turns out exceptionally good athletic teams, and 95% of its graduates, according to Gauld, have gone on to college. Many are loyal alumni. Says Will Collins, 22, a student at Grinnell College in Iowa: "Hyde is a conservative school advocating not a return to traditional values but to excellence." Some parents credit the school with changing their own lives for the better, as well as "remarkably" improving their children.

But Hyde also has plenty of critics.

Asks J.B. Satterthwaite, retired head of the English department at Groton School in Groton, Mass.: "If a teen-ager is publicly humiliated, does this build his character? Does it build the character of other students who are encouraged to take part in such a show?" The school's first teacher, Ray Fisher, who quit because Gauld permitted no disagreement with his own hawkish views on Viet Nam, charges that Gauld "is completely obsessed. You find that the kids are in effect brainwashed." Doris Vladimiroff, director of HEW'S Upward Bound program in Maine, whose son went to a Hyde summer session, complains: "Gauld's techniques are nothing less than demoniacal."

Despite the large number of problem children, there are no psychologists on the school's staff, because Hyde teachers prefer to "use our gut feelings." When that approach fails, Gauld has referred students to Richard Evans, a psychiatrist in Brunswick, Me. Like many parents of Hyde students, Evans is willing to give the school the benefit of the doubt. Says he: "Frankly, I'm puzzled. But ordinary methods don't work with the kinds of kids going to Hyde. The school does make a real effort to reach these children. It is doing something no one else is willing to do."

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