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Friday, November 6, 2009

Pete K Declares War on Racism at Highland Hall Part 1

September 13, 2009

Dear Highland Hall Parents,

Many of you are hearing from me, and of me, for the first time. I am sorry to have to contact you under such circumstances, but I’m afraid there are recent issues at Highland Hall that you need to know about.

I have recently voiced concerns that Highland Hall has been teaching racism to children. The example I gave was a physiology class given by Merrily Lovell. My concerns were met with an invitation to talk with Highland Hall’s attorney.

Highland Hall has a credibility problem according to many parents, so getting to the bottom of things is sometimes difficult and in my experience even impossible but when it happens it is only accomplished through constant pressure and persistence.

Finally, after increasing pressure a meeting with two Highland Hall board members ensued. The details of that meeting are discussed in the attached letter that went out last week to some of you. The meeting was unproductive, terminating with Highland Hall issuing an unofficial “restraining order” to me.

It was only after I made the claim of racism public and threatened to stage a protest in front of their school during the Rose Ceremony (among other things), that Highland Hall appeared to take my concerns about racism being taught at Highland Hall seriously. They have asked me about a specific lesson, but racism at Highland Hall is deeper than this. It is interspersed throughout the curriculum. It is important, I feel, that we look at this carefully. So where do we start?

Every Waldorf school is founded on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner which Steiner called Anthroposophy. With specific attention to racism in Waldorf, every parent should ask these questions now:

1) Who was Steiner?
2) Was he racist?
3) Why does it matter to us now?
4) Is Anthroposophy racist?
5) Is Anthroposophy in Waldorf curriculum?
6) More importantly, is racism in Waldorf curriculum?
7) And finally, if racism is in Waldorf curriculum, why is it there?

Those are the questions I will answer today and in subsequent emails. With your indulgence, I will make my case that Waldorf is based on Anthroposophy, that Anthroposophy is based on racist tenets and that those racist themes end up in Waldorf. If you don’t agree, feel free to tell me so.

Who was Steiner?
We can read the details about Steiner’s life almost anywhere. Let’s look at how he is described on Highland Hall’s website:

… Following the indications of Austrian scientist and philosopher Dr. Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), the children are taught …

OK, so Steiner was a scientist? By what standards? There is no serious scientific discovery attributed to Steiner.

According to :
Although Waldorf often describes Rudolf Steiner as a scientist, you won't find him in lists of famous scientists on the web like this one or this one. Steiner is rarely mentioned as a significant contributor to the body of scientific knowledge, and is by no means essential to modern science. Even those familiar with Steiner are somewhat surprised on the rare occasion he is mentioned in a mainstream scientific context. However, there are some anthroposophists who believe that Rudolf Steiner is the reincarnation of Aristotle, which, if true, would increase his status as a seminal scientist considerably.
While I’d love to digress into some of Steiner’s nutty “scientific” ideas, I’d rather stay on topic.

Let’s ask someone else… How about Wikipedia:

Rudolf Steiner (25 or 27 February 1861[1] – 30 March 1925) was an Austrian philosopher, social thinker, architect and esotericist.[2][3] He gained initial recognition as a literary critic and cultural philosopher. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he founded a new spiritual movement, Anthroposophy, as an esoteric philosophy growing out of European transcendentalist roots with links to Theosophy.

OK – so Steiner was not a scientist. Science editor at best… “Spiritual Scientist” for sure. He doesn’t appear on any list of scientists. Why is Highland Hall is misrepresenting Steiner to parents right off the bat? Because Steiner’s science is a vehicle for teaching racist ideas that are not based in science. Which brings us to our next question…

Was he racist?
We’ve seen the horrible quotes that suggest he was. Did he really think black people were inferior to white people? YES, he really did. He believed “individuals” are in spirit form and move up or down through a hierarchy of races in various incarnations. He believed as people advance spiritually, they advance racially until they appear in the white form – the “race of the future”. This is exactly what he believed. That is the definition of racism.

From Wikipedia:

Race and ethnicity
Steiner's work includes both universalist, humanist elements and historically-influenced racial assumptions.[59] Due to the contrast and even contradictions between these elements, "whether a given reader interprets Anthroposophy as racist or not depends upon that reader's concerns."[60] Steiner considered that every people has a unique essence, which he called its soul or spirit,[56] saw race as a physical manifestation of humanity's spiritual evolution and at times seemed to place races into a complex hierarchy largely derived from contemporary theosophical views, yet he consistently and explicitly subordinated the role of hereditary factors, including race and ethnicity, to individual factors in development;[60] the human individuality, for Steiner, is centered in a person's unique ego, not the body's accidental qualities.[13] More specifically:
Steiner characterized specific races, nations, and ethnicities in ways that have been termed racist by critics[61] including characterizations of various races and ethnic groups as flowering, others as backward or destined to disappear;[60] and hierarchical views of the spiritual evolution of different races,[62] including - at times, and inconsistently - portraying the white race, European culture, or the Germanic culture as representing the high-point of human evolution as of the early 20th century, though describing these as destined to be superseded by future cultures.[60] Nevertheless, his views about German culture were not ethnically based; he saw this culture, in particular Goethe and the German transcendentalists, as the source of spiritual ideals that were of central importance both for the immediate region and for the world.[63]
Why does it matter to us now?
We are being told by many people that racism IS in Waldorf schools. Waldorf says NO. Yet the ideas of race and the spirit developing through incarnations in higher and lower races is one of the basic tenets of Anthroposophy. These tenets are taught in Waldorf teacher training.

From the article:
Klaus Prange, educational specialist at the University of Tübingen:
"This construction serves to create a consciousness in the individual that all of history, as Steiner reads it, with all it peculiarities, is present in every human being. With a clear advantage to our belonging, or supposed belonging, one must say, to the Aryan race, which Waldorf continues to treat as something that really existed."
Some books describe the characteristics of entire peoples, teaching that Russians are undisciplined and unpunctual, the French superficial and so-called "bush men" have forward-curving spines and large posteriors.
Hildegard Ernst trains history teachers for public schools. We present her with the Waldorf teaching materials.
Hildegard Ernst, historian at the University of Mainz:
" In some chapters peoples are depicted with exaggerated stereotypes that must lead to racist ideas if left uncommented."
Is Anthroposophy racist?
When we look at Anthroposophy’s defense of Steiner’s racism, we see some very shifty footwork. We see a glowing quote from Steiner describing how he saw the idea of race as no longer necessary. From “Overcoming Racism through Anthroposophy” which warns:

In recent years, occasional charges of racism have been leveled against Rudolf
Steiner and against institutions arising from his work, such as the Waldorf schools. Those
laying the charges have increasingly shown themselves more interested in defaming the
work of Rudolf Steiner than in finding what lay behind the apparently offending
passages. It is therefore important for serious readers to recognize that critics have taken quotations out of context and/or from unedited, transcribed (not tape-recorded) notes of Steiner’s lectures. Clearly, such techniques can easily lead to errors or serious misunderstandings based on patently dishonest manipulation or distortions of Steiner’s thoughts. The most compelling proof comes from Steiner himself.

As evidence, they put up the following quote:

“ … the anthroposophical movement [ . . .], must cast aside the division into
races. It must seek to unite people of all races and nations, and to bridge the
divisions and differences between various groups of people. The old point of view
of race has a physical character, but what will prevail in the future will have a
more spiritual character.”
-R. Steiner, The Universal Human4

So, to take it out of context would be a “patently dishonest manipulation or distortion of Steiner’s thoughts… right? OK, then… let’s see what the passage really says:

The Universal Human – Lecture One
If we go back beyond the Atlantean catastrophe, we see how human races were prepared. In the ancient Atlantean age, human beings were grouped according to external bodily characteristics even more so than in our time. The races we distinguish today are merely vestiges of these significant differences between human beings in ancient Atlantis. The concept of race is only fully applicable to Atlantis. Because we are dealing with the real evolution of humanity, we have therefore never used this concept of race in its original meaning. Thus, we do not speak of an Indian race, a Persian race, and so on, because it is no longer true or proper to do so. Instead, we speak of an Indian, a Persian, and other periods of civilization. And it would make no sense at all to say that in our time a sixth “race” is being prepared. Though remnants of ancient Atlantean differences, of ancient Atlantean group-soulness, still exist and the division into races is still in effect, what is being prepared for the sixth epoch is precisely the stripping away of race. That is essentially what is happening.
Therefore, in its fundamental nature, the anthroposophical movement, which is to prepare the sixth period, must cast aside the division into races. It must seek to unite people of all races and nations, and to bridge the divisions and differences between various groups of people. The old point of view of race has a physical character, but what will prevail in the future will have a more spiritual character.
That is why it is absolutely essential to understand that our anthroposophical movement is a spiritual one. It looks to the spirit and overcomes the effects of physical differences through the force of being a spiritual movement. Of course, any movement has its childhood illnesses, so to speak. Consequently, in the beginning of the theosophical movement the earth was divided into seven periods of time, one for each of the seven root races, and each of these root races was divided into seven sub-races. These seven periods were said to repeat in a cycle so that one could always speak of seven races and seven sub-races. However, we must get beyond the illnesses of childhood and understand clearly that the concept of race has ceased to have any meaning in our time.
Humanity is becoming evermore individual, and this has further implications for human individuality. It is important that this individuality develop in the right way. The anthroposophical movement is to help people become individualities, or personalities, in the right sense. How can it accomplish this? Here we must look to the most striking new quality of the human soul that is being prepared. People often ask why we do not remember our former incarnations. I have often answered this question, which is like saying that because a four-year-old child cannot do arithmetic, human beings cannot do arithmetic. When the child reaches ten, he or she will be able to multiply with ease. It is the same with the soul. If it cannot remember our former incarnations today, the time will come when it will be able to do so. Then it will possess the same capacity initiates have.
This new development is happening today. There are numerous souls nowadays who are so far advanced that they are close to the moment of remembering their former incarnations, or at least the last one. A number of people are at the threshold of comprehensive memory, embracing life between birth and death as well as previous incarnations. Many people will remember their present incarnation when they are reborn in their next life. It is simply a question of how they remember. The anthroposophical movement is to help and guide people to remember in the right way.
In light of this, we can describe this anthroposophical movement as leading a person to grasp correctly what is called the I, the innermost member of the human being. I have often pointed out that Fichte rightly said most people would sooner regard themselves as a piece of lava on the moon than as an I. [ see Note 1 ] To think how many people in our time have any idea at all of the I — that is, of what they are — leads to a dismal conclusion.
In other words, it is the job of Anthroposophy to change people’s thinking about the races – not that they are all equal, but that their inequality is unimportant in the NEXT epoch – in the context of Steiner’s thinking. For them to do this, they have to transfer the responsibility of being “human” to some spiritual form Steiner calls the “I” – our spirit Individual.
Is Anthroposophy in Waldorf curriculum?
Anthroposophy is everywhere in the curriculum of Waldorf. To know this, one needs to first know what Anthroposophy is. The kids know it’s there – they just can’t describe what it is or how it got there. Steiner’s ideas are supported in the science curriculum, for example. Here is former Highland Hall science teacher Tom Mellett talking about Goethean science. Look at the kid’s report cards and see how many times Goethe is mentioned – especially in science.
More importantly, is racism in Waldorf curriculum?
Yes, this is the most important quiestion for many reasons. To get to the racism, that is, the theme that says the “I” is the human, and not the physical body, themes like reincarnation are brought to children starting very young. The “Rainbow Bridge” story in the kindergarten and the paper butterflies symbolizing a single spirit form undergoing metamorphosis from one physical shape to the other set up the children for the concepts of the “I” taking precedence over the human form. By the fifth grade Olympic games, the kids have been divided by body type (according to Steiner’s indications) and are told to wear tee shirts designating them as such. These ideas, starting before kindergarten, pave the way for the more solid racist ideas to be presented. Ideas about perfect thinking, physiology and culture are weighted toward Europeans. In future emails, I will explore the Waldorf curriculum thoroughly and show how it relates to Steiner’s “I” and the promotion of racist themes.
And finally, if racism is in Waldorf curriculum, why is it there?
Again, it is the purpose of Anthroposophists to promote Steiner’s ideas of the “I” – that we are not humans but spirits inhabiting human bodies. Waldorf is the missionary arm of Anthroposophy. Waldorf’s intention is to create Anthroposophists.

Many people would be fine with Steiner’s ideas about the “I” if they didn’t require the assignment of a higher value to the white race and a lower value to other races and further describe that some races are ascending while others are declining or degrading. The fact that Steiner DID have these views is sad. That he created a school to promote them is terrible. That the school promotes these views without telling parents… well, that is a tragedy that borders on criminal – but we can help them stop.

Our course of action
So, where do we go from here? Waldorf has, at its core, racist ideas that cannot be extricated from the curriculum without intense overhaul of the curriculum and refutation of Steiner’s main themes. Now that it has been discovered, what should be done about this? What CAN be done about this? More difficult would be to extricate Steiner’s racist ideas from the minds of some Waldorf teachers who don’t understand that their ideas are racist..

For any parent still considering leaving their child at Highland Hall, the first course of action must be OPENNESS at Highland Hall. They must be open to answering ANY parent’s or prospective parent’s questions truthfully. How do parents know if they have had a truthful answer? Many people I have encountered at Highland Hall claim ignorance of these issues. Maybe Highland Hall needs to be educated about what racism is? Maybe some formal sensitivity training about why some ideas they believe are racist - should be required for ALL faculty and staff. Decision-makers at Highland Hall must be people who understand what is in Anthroposophy and what its intentions are.

We could have an open forum for questions and answers, but Highland Hall opposes this. Why? I feel it is important to discuss these things openly so that people have the opportunity to hear both sides. I encourage openness at Highland Hall. I encourage you to do the same.

Please ask the tough questions of your teachers. Your children require your attentive focus RIGHT NOW. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or comments.

Pete Karaiskos

Pete K Declares War on Racism at Highland Hall Part 2

September 22, 2009,

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

This is the third letter I have issued regarding racism at HH Waldorf school. If you are hearing from me for the first time, the first two letters are available for viewing and comment at OpenWaldorf in the HH section and are posted there. OpenWaldorf is as good a place as any for posting this material. Comments are also welcome.

I received the following report from Board of Trustees president {name of board president}:

“I have inquired on more than one occasion regarding the teachings in the classroom, as well as interviewing teachers myself, as well as examining various classroom materials, and my own daughter's experiences. There is a standing request that I be informed of any materials or activity in the classroom that are found to contain anything racist. So far, I am happy to tell you that I have found no evidence that the school has ever taught anything racist.”

So what ARE they teaching our kids? How can it look like racism to some, but not to others? Is HH in denial about what they are teaching and if so, why? Or do they believe people won’t notice? I noticed. Now I’m asking you to notice too.

Let’s start with something that, on the surface, seems innocuous: the Greek Olympic Games. These happen in the 5th grade. To understand what is happening here and how these “games” set our children up to accept racism, we must start with an understanding of the temperaments. The temperaments are something ALL Waldorf teachers must learn about – it is part of Waldorf teacher training.

Steiner's role of the temperaments in children is described by master Waldorf teacher Rene Querido:

"The temperament is the meeting of the spiritual aspect of oneself, which one refers to as 'I', and the contributions of the father and mother. The temperament is the result of the blending of these two streams, the spirit and heredity."
(From "Waldorf Education - A Family Guide" - p. 60 The Role of Temperament in Understanding the Child by Rene Querido)

OK – so right off the bat, we see that heredity makes up half of the temperament in each child. Remember the part about the spiritual aspect of oneself, which one refers to as 'I' – this is part and parcel of why Anthroposophists don’t believe Steiner’s teachings are racist.

On page 62 of the above reference, there is a chart that puts the temperaments and their associated spiritual connections and characteristics in a nutshell.

Sanguine: Spring, Yellow, Superficial, Nerves, Air, Socially Aware, Caring.

Choleric: Summer, Red, Destructive, Dictator, Blood, Fire, Selfless Leader.

Melancholic: Fall, Mauve, Self-pitying, Bones, Earth, Considerate, Understanding.

Phlegmatic: Winter, Blue, Lazy, Glands, Water, Reliable, Faithful.

Note: I have added Steiner’s own depictions of the body SHAPE above each description. I took the pictures from I believe it is important to note how both the body shape of the child and the heredity of the child contributes to this separation process.

Each child, according to Waldorf teacher training, fits one of these four categories more than any other. This category may determine where the child is seated in the classroom, or which musical instrument is recommended for the child, or which part in the play a child is given. It certainly reflects what the teacher expects from the child. Here's a good example of what I am talking about:

"If you put on a play, you should cast the characters according to the temperaments of your students. You might, for example, ask your cholerics to play Julius Caesar, and you might cast your sanguines as the messengers, since they would enjoy running in and out with the news. The melancholics love philosophical roles. ... The phlegmatics, on the other hand, like the parts where they can sit and think, removed from the central action of the play." (From "Waldorf Education - A Family Guide" - p. 65-66 The Role of Temperament in Understanding the Child by Rene Querido)

In the fifth grade, however, the temperaments are brought to full light in the pentathlon or Greek games. This event will usually involve children from neighboring schools competing in several events (it's usually seven events in my area, so pentathlon loses its meaning). The children are not separated by school – but by temperaments. Each temperament represents a different city-state in Greece, e.g. Red=Sparta, etc. So, from a curriculum point of view, Waldorf schools see some benefit in having, for example, all the "superficial" children compete against each other. All the "lazy" children compete together, as do all the "self-pitying" children and the "destructive dictators." They get their own colored uniforms or identifications – each associated with Steiner's colors. Choleric children get red, for example.

The children get to march around all day wearing a uniform that identifies them to their classmates perhaps as "lazy." Remember this is based at least partly on heredity and body shape. If the identification wasn't clear from the start, it is easy to see which children are lumped together at a glance. The obese children are all wearing blue. A child simply has to look at their uniform to see who they have been associated with. Often, classmates or siblings will tease children based on the color of their uniform. This can be distressing for some children. And for what? Why separate children by heredity and body shape in the first place?

That teachers/schools would make such a division of children based on some perceived temperament and then have this decision displayed to all the children is, in my opinion, a cruel thing to do to children. To divide children in games using heredity and body shape as a criteria, especially in the way described above, is hurtful nonsense; it is Anthroposophy at its worst. It divides and harms children in a very ugly and thoughtless way. Frankly, if a teacher or school thinks my child is lazy, or superficial, or dictatorial, or self-pitying, they should pretty much keep it out of my child's consciousness.

I don't think it is too much of a leap to discuss racism when referring to the above exercise. I’m not sure anyone at HH has thought through the implications of this display and how it relates to Steiner’s recurring message. Steiner believed humans were divided into races and that each race had its own unique characteristics. Some races were higher on the evolutionary ladder, others were lower, some were advancing, others were declining. For each of the races, just like for each of the temperaments, Steiner had both good and bad things to say. It was clear in Steiner’s writings, however, that some races were held in higher regard than others, with the white race being the most advanced and the “race of the future.”

“You see, when we really study science and history, we must conclude that if people become increasingly strong, they will also become increasingly stupid. If the blonds and blue-eyed people die out, the human race will become increasingly dense if men do not arrive at a form of intelligence that is independent of blondness. Blond hair actually bestows intelligence. . . .It is indeed true that the more the fair individuals die out the more will the instinctive wisdom of humans vanish.” (Steiner, 1922, Health and Illness: Volume I. Trans. Maria St. Goar. Spring Valley: Anthroposophic Press, 1981. p. 86)

Steiner viewed these types of things as matter-of-fact spiritual observations and saw nothing wrong in verbalizing his spiritual observations to Anthroposophists. I don't think he was intentional about promoting racism as such, but I DO believe, and his quotes here confirm, that he was a bit nervous about how this material would be received by the general public. I think this says a lot. He knew he was saying something people would find offensive, and he felt compelled to say it anyway because he believed from a spiritual point of view that it was true. This from someone who was so concerned about social reform but who had never met a black person. I don't believe it was a matter of Steiner having said something and having been misunderstood or misquoted. I believe it was a matter of Steiner saying something he believed to be true in exactly the way it has been interpreted.

That, of course, is why Anthroposophists have a hard time backing away from such statements. They believe them to be true — from a spiritual point of view — and want to continue believing them, quietly. The problem comes in when these ideas reinforce the unenlightened views of a group of people, Waldorf teachers to be specific, who are already comfortable assigning certain roles or holding certain expectations of certain children based on physical characteristics associated with their alleged temperaments. I suggest it is not too much of a stretch for them to expect intelligence from blond-haired children when Steiner specifically says that's what they should expect.

If it is HH’s intention to create Anthroposophists — and I believe it is — then softening the children up and preparing them to accept Steiner’s more difficult ideas takes a lot of time. The Greek Olympics are one way Steiner’s ideas are imprinted on the children.

More importantly, Steiner’s ideas about the races are imprinted on Waldorf teachers in exactly the same way as his ideas about the temperaments. Reading in the teacher training materials for Waldorf teachers, we find many disturbing references to the races and other wacky stuff. Every Waldorf teacher training institution including HH’s own Waldorf Institute of Southern California (WISC) uses Faculty Meetings with Rudolf Steiner as its “Bible.” It is a book that describes Steiner’s advice for the first Waldorf teachers, so it’s particularly significant in Waldorf teacher training. Let’s explore this book a little.

Physical traits meant a LOT to Steiner. For example, below he talks about “large and small-headed children,” the differences between them, and what Waldorf teachers should expect from these two different shapes of heads (p534):

“It is certainly a major deficiency that many educational systems pay no attention to such things as, for example, the external appearance of the children. You can stand in front of a school and see both large and small-headed children. We should treat those children with larger heads, in general, in the way I just presented. Those with small heads should not be treated that way, but in a way I will shortly describe. In those children with a physically oversized head, you will be able to find what I have just described as deficiencies, namely, lack of attention or a too-strongly developed phlegma. “

How FINAL were Steiner’s teachings? Below, a teacher confronted Steiner with her own observations that conflicted with Steiner’s about a child with “small-headedness” (p542):

A teacher: You spoke of flighty children having large heads. In my class, I have a very flighty child with a small head.
Dr. Steiner: A small head is connected with brooding and reflecting whereas large-headed children are more flighty. If that is not the case, your judgment is incorrect. A small-headed child who is very flighty has not been evaluated from the proper perspective. You can orient yourself with these things. You first need to look at the nature of the child from the proper perspective. Show me the child some time. It is possible to mistake a child’s brooding for superficiality. It is possible that the brooding is hidden behind a kind of superficiality. That is easily possible with children.

But did Steiner’s ideas have any merit? In Faculty Meetings, we see the school DOCTOR even challenging Steiner about the difficulty in differentiating large- and small-headedness in children. Notice how Steiner skips over the question (p633):

The school doctor: It is difficult to differentiate between large- and small-headed children.
Dr. Steiner: You will need to go more thoroughly into the reality of it. So many things are hidden. It sometimes happens that these things appear later with one child or another. I would now like to hear about the first grade. Are the children taking it up? We need to follow the psychology of this first grade. Every class has its own individuality. These two first grade classes are very interesting groups.

OK, let’s forget the head. Since we’re almost on the right page, how about the hands? Did Steiner give any indications of the child’s capacity for learning from the hands? (p634):

A teacher asks whether the tendency toward left-handedness should be broken.

Dr. Steiner: In general, yes. At the younger ages, approximately before the age of nine, you can accustom left-handed children to right-handedness at school. You should not do that only if it would have a damaging effect, which is very seldom the case. Children are not a sum of things, but exponentially complicated. If you attempt to create symmetry between the right and left with the children, and you exercise both hands in balance, that can lead to weak-mindedness later in life. The phenomenon of left-handedness is clearly karmic, and, in connection with karma, it is one of karmic weakness. I will give an example: People who overworked in their previous life, so that they did too much, not just physically or intellectually, but in general spiritually, within their soul or feeling, will enter the succeeding life with an intense weakness. That person will be unable to overcome the karmic weakness in the lower human being. (The part of the human being that results from the life between death and a new birth is particularly concentrated in the lower human being, whereas the part that comes from the previous earthly life is concentrated more in the head.) So, what would otherwise be strongly developed becomes weak, and the left leg and left hand are relied upon as a crutch. The preference for the left hand results in the right side of the brain, instead of the left, being used in speech. If you give in to that too much, then that weakness may perhaps remain for a later, a third, earthly life. If you do not give in, then the weakness is brought into balance.

Please remember, this is all REQUIRED READING for Waldorf teachers.

So, Rudolf Steiner had some very interesting things to say about how the physical body reflects our disposition, our demeanor, and even our intelligence.

Here are a couple of disturbing passages from Faculty Meetings that are quickly becoming famous. Notice below how, when angry with the French (for deploying black soldiers in Germany), Steiner decided to take a jab at them by claiming the French are a “race” and suggesting it is reverting to a lower race. Remember, Steiner was saying these things to TEACHERS in the context of training them (p558).

“The French are also ruining what maintains their dead language, namely, their blood. The French are committing the terrible brutality of moving black people to Europe, but it works, in an even worse way, back on France. It has an enormous affect on the blood and the race and contributes considerably toward French decadence. The French as a race are reverting.”

On page 552 is a proposal to ask parents for permission to stop teaching French. Is anyone surprised that they don’t offer instruction in the French language at HH?

Here’s another famous quote… it is often shortened when reproduced, but I left the whole thing in for context. The idea of the spirit “I” in Steiner’s philosophy allows Steiner to make these types of observations (p649):

“That little girl L.K. in the first grade must have something really very wrong inside. There is not much we can do. Such cases are increasing in which children are born with a human form, but are not really human beings in relation to their highest I; instead, they are filled with beings that do not belong to the human class. Quite a number of people have been born since the [eighteen-]nineties without an I, that is, they are not reincarnated, but are human forms filled with a sort of natural demon. There are quite a large number of older people going around who are actually not human beings, but are only natural; they are human beings only in regard to their form. We cannot, however, create a school for demons.”

“Cosmic error is certainly not impossible. The relationships of individuals coming into earthly existence have long been determined. There are also generations in which individuals have no desire to come into earthly existence and be connected with physicality, or immediately leave at the very beginning. In such cases, other beings that are not quite suited step in. This is something that is now quite common, that human beings go around without an I; they are actually not human beings, but have only a human form. They are beings like nature spirits, which we do not recognize as such because they go around in a human form. They are also quite different from human beings in regard to everything spiritual. They can, for example, never remember such things as sentences; they have a memory only for words, not for sentences. The riddle of life is not so simple. When such a being dies, it returns to nature from which it came. The corpse decays, but there is no real dissolution of the etheric body, and the natural being returns to nature.”

“It is also possible that something like an automaton could occur. The entire human organism exists, and it might be possible to automate the brain and develop a kind of pseudomorality. I do not like to talk about such things since we have often been attacked even without them. Imagine what people would say if they heard that we say there are people who are not human beings. Nevertheless, these are facts. Our culture would not be in such a decline if people felt more strongly that a number of people are going around who, because they are completely ruthless, have become something that is not human, but instead are demons in human form.”

“Nevertheless, we do not want to shout that to the world. Our opposition is already large enough. Such things are really shocking to people. I caused enough shock when I needed to say that a very famous university professor, after a very short period between death and rebirth, was reincarnated as a black scientist. We do not want to shout such things out into the world.”

Above, Steiner catches himself talking about things that are not for ears outside of Waldorf faculty. We may think it ridiculous that a Waldorf teacher today might follow Steiner’s teachings about demons possessing children, but this is in the teacher training materials. If a teacher believes the notion of Steiner’s “I,” then such things as possessions of the body must also be believable to Steiner’s most devout followers.

It has been my experience that many Waldorf teachers take Steiner’s teachings very seriously and very literally. Steiner’s teachings about the temperaments are INTENDED to come through in the classroom and come to fruition in the Pentathlon/Greek Olympic games. Steiner’s teachings about the “spirit I” and the hierarchy of the races are part of the same body of knowledge that is REQUIRED READING in Waldorf teacher training , right beside the temperaments, in the SAME BOOK.

In Waldorf, the “spirit I” theme starts with the Rainbow Bridge story in Waldorf pre-school and runs through to the high school morning prayer, written by Steiner himself. The “spirit I” is the theme that permits the inclusion of racism in Waldorf. As a Waldorf teacher, one would have to suddenly put on the brakes when arriving at Steiner’s subtle racism. Unfortunately, it is difficult, if not impossible, for Waldorf teachers to see when to do this.

Remember, when we were kids, we used to play “which one does not belong?” Five out of the six statements are taken directly from Faculty Meetings with Rudolf Steiner.

“It is certainly a major deficiency that many educational systems pay no attention to such things as, for example, the external appearance of the children.”

“A small head is connected with brooding and reflecting whereas large-headed children are more flighty.”

“Such cases are increasing in which children are born with a human form, but are not really human beings in relation to their highest I; instead, they are filled with beings that do not belong to the human class.”

“In those children with a physically oversized head, you will be able to find what I have just described as deficiencies, namely, lack of attention or a too-strongly developed phlegma.”

“If the blonds and blue-eyed people die out, the human race will become increasingly dense if men do not arrive at a form of intelligence that is independent of blondness. Blond hair actually bestows intelligence…”

“The phenomenon of left-handedness is clearly karmic, and, in connection with karma, it is one of karmic weakness.”

“They are also quite different from human beings in regard to everything spiritual. They can, for example, never remember such things as sentences; they have a memory only for words, not for sentences.”

If Waldorf teachers are TRAINED to use these types of criteria for their interactions with children, where do they draw the line? Steiner said all these things. All of them are offensive or at least problematic for most educators. They are all part of Anthroposophy, part of the “knowledge” Waldorf teachers are supposed to study. Can we really trust that Waldorf teachers know the difference between what crosses the line to racism? IS there a line at all? They taught my child that blood types of Europeans are more evolved than blood types of Africans and Asians, which any mainstream biologist can tell you is incorrect. Does that cross the line?

Anthroposophy is in everything Waldorf. It is the substance that binds the curriculum. It isn’t taught; it is displayed for the children. Sometimes, those displays are ugly and rather obviously out of place, like the Greek Olympics. While claiming not to be an Anthroposophist, our Board of Trustees president, {name of board president}, does not see anything wrong with these examples I have given you. In fact, as he reported with confidence, he “found no evidence that the school has ever taught anything racist.” If this is the case, then Waldorf teachers are indeed doing their job well. The racism is in Anthroposophy, and Anthroposophy is in Waldorf. It’s in our kids now, too, in subtle ways they may not recognize.

Pete Karaiskos

Pete K Declares War on Racism at Highland Hall Part 3

Oct 17, 2009

Dear Friends and Neighbors of Highland Hall School,

Thank you for following what has become a bit of an intellectual exercise.  I think your children will thank you.

Last Tuesday was a special day for me.  It was the anniversary of my father’s birthday.  He was born in 1915, came to the US at 21, enlisted in the army, and was a veteran of WWII.  My father was one of the founders of St. Nicholas Church, which touches the corner of Highland Hall’s property. 

It was with some embarrassment that I had to inform St. Nicholas church and many of our other neighbors that racism is being taught to children at their neighborhood school, Highland Hall.  That fact is inescapable at this point, however.  Highland Hall teaches racist ideas to children because their philosophy is based on racist themes. 

Waldorf teachers are taught racist ideas and some of the required reading for Waldorf teachers is explicitly racist, while other materials are implicitly racist.  Since I was unable to get Highland Hall’s cooperation to obtain a WISC teacher training reading list — it appears WISC also removed it from their website in the short time since I started my inquiries — I was able to get one from a different Waldorf teaching center through the Freedom of Information Act.  I will obtain a copy of WISC’s reading list soon, but it doesn’t matter that much; Highland Hall’s teachers come from all over.  Highland Hall, in its typical deceitful manner, won’t disclose what they are teaching on their campus… even what they are teaching to Waldorf TEACHERS.

I’ve discovered that Waldorf teachers are taught that a child’s intellectual capacity is based on physical factors, including the child’s race.  The following excerpt is from one of the books that is required reading for Waldorf teachers.

"For peoples and races are but steps leading to pure humanity. A race or a nation stands so much the higher, the more perfectly its members express the pure, ideal human type, the further they have worked their way from the physical and perishable to the supersensible and imperishable. The evolution of man through the incarnations in ever higher national and racial forms is thus a process of liberation. Man must finally appear in harmonious perfection." (Steiner, Knowledge of Higher Worlds p. 207) This book also is sold by the title “How to Know Higher Worlds.”

By the way, the “harmonious perfection” Steiner talked about isn’t expected for a few thousand years.  But mustn’t we concern ourselves with our children TODAY?  Do Waldorf teachers really believe children with blond hair and blue eyes are naturally more intelligent than children with different features? 

In my last letter, we saw Steiner went into great detail to tell teachers EXACTLY what to look for in each child for every possible issue.  Let’s have a quick review from our previous discussions: Steiner’s ideas about… how to know children.

Temperaments – partially determined by body types:

Sanguine = Superficial
Choleric = Destructive
Melancholic = Self-pitying
Phlegmatic = Lazy

Other physical features and their meaning:

Small Head = Brooding and reflecting
Large Head = Phlegma and lack of attention
Left-handedness = Karmic weakness
Blond hair & blue eyes = Intelligent
White race = High point of human evolution – the “race of the future”.
Black people = Weak ego - absorb light and heat like plants thus have “carbonic
   constituents” under their skin making them black.
Red Indians = Ego too strong – destined to die out.
Jews = Useless now and need to disappear into society.

Non-physical attributes and their meaning:

Demons = Some children aren’t human – they are possessed by demons.

What else did Steiner deduce from physical and racial traits?  In my last letter, we read from Faculty Meetings with Rudolf Steiner.  My letter was posted to the Waldorf Critics list by a former Highland Hall parent. 

Roger Rawlings, a former Waldorf student provided a revealing passage from Rudolf Steiner’s Nature Spirits (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1970, pp. 106-110.), in which Steiner himself humiliates a child in front of an assembly of teachers.

That Steiner, supposedly an “educator,” would put a child through this humiliating and apparently petrifying experience is not surprising to me, having witnessed firsthand the humiliation some Waldorf teachers are willing to put students through (perhaps based on what they have learned through this example).  But why?  I think it has a LOT to do with how Waldorf teachers view the child, and this is based on Steiner’s ideas about KARMA.

Since Highland Hall is not cooperating with anything I’m investigating, I obtained the Waldorf Teacher Training Book List from the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training FAQ Sheet.

From the Waldorf Teacher required reading list:  Manifestations of Karma – Rudolf Steiner.

Let’s have a look at what they’re teaching our Waldorf teachers, shall we?

“We know that at a certain point in the Earth's evolution there penetrated into the development of humanity the forces we call luciferic, which belong to beings who remained behind during the ancient Moon evolution, and who did not advance far enough to reach, as it were, the normal point of their development. Thereby was implanted into the astral body of man, before his Ego could work in the proper manner, a principle which streamed from these luciferic beings. So the influence of these beings was once exercised on man's astral body, and he has retained it throughout his evolution. This influence plays a great part in human evolution; but for our present task it is important to point out that as a result of these forces, he had within him that which led him to be less perfect than he would otherwise have been if such influence had not come.”  p89.

“Now, if man had taken only this principle into himself he would have succumbed more and more to the allurements of the physical earth world; he would gradually have been obliged to resign the prospect of breaking loose again from this world. We know that the Christ influence which came later opposed the luciferic principle and balanced it again, as it were, so that in the course of evolution man again received the means by which to rid himself of the luciferic influence. But with this influence something else was given at the same time. The fact that this influence had penetrated into his astral body made the whole of the external world into which he entered appear different to him. Lucifer entered into the inner being of man, who then saw the world around him through Lucifer. His vision of the earthly world was thereby clouded and his external impressions were mingled with what we call the ahrimanic influence. Ahriman could only insinuate himself and make the external world into illusion because we had previously created from within the tendency towards illusion and maya. Thus the ahrimanic influence which came into the external world was a consequence of the luciferic influence. We may say that when once the luciferic forces were there, man enmeshed himself more in the sense-world than he would have done without this influence; but thereby he absorbed the ahrimanic influence with every external perception. Thus in the human individuality which goes through incarnations on the earth, there is a luciferic influence, and, as a result of this, the ahrimanic influence. These two powers are continually fighting in the human individuality which has become their field of battle.pp90/91.

LUCIFER and AHRIMAN?  This is important for teachers to know… WHY EXACTLY?  ALL Waldorf teachers are trained in this.  Is it harmless?  OR does it set up the premise for discrimination based on physical attributes.  Let’s read more:

We can examine certain forms of disease from this standpoint. Let us take pneumonia for example; it is a karmic effect which follows when during his life in kamaloca the person in question looks back to a character which had within it the tendency towards sexual excess, and a desire to live a sensual life. Do not confuse what is now ascribed to a previous consciousness with what appears in the consciousness in the following incarnation. This is quite a different matter. Indeed, that which a person sees during his life in kamaloca will so transform itself that forces are imprinted in him by means of which he will overcome pneumonia. For it is exactly in the overcoming of this disease, in the self-healing which is then striven for that the human individuality acts in opposition to the luciferic powers and wages a pitched battle against them. Therefore in the overcoming of pneumonia is given the opportunity to lay aside that which was a defect in the character in a previous incarnation. In this complaint we see unmistakably the war of man against the luciferic powers. p93.

So Lucifer and Ahriman control our physical incarnations.  People with certain afflictions today are overcoming different afflictions they had in previous incarnations.  So a child’s karmic destiny to “overcome” should be fulfilled, and this may be done through bullying at the hands of classmates or suffering humiliation and abuse at the hands of teachers. 
Anything else Waldorf teachers should know in order to “teach” our children?

Only in the realm of spiritual companionship is there any equality between man and woman. The further we penetrate into the purely spiritual and into the outer aspect of the human being, the more is accentuated the difference between man and woman in relation to their lives. We can say that woman differs from man also in certain qualities of the soul, and that she inclines more towards those impulses which must be termed emotional. For this reason we find that psychic experiences come to her more easily than to man. Intellectuality and materialism are, on the contrary, more natural to man's life, and these strongly influence the soul life. So the psychic and emotional predominate in woman and the intellectual and materialistic in man.”  p202.

OK… So, parents, our daughters are less inclined to be intellectual and more inclined to be emotional.  It was, after all, their karma to be women.  Why on earth, in this day and age, are Waldorf TEACHERS being taught this in Waldorf teacher training?  Oh yeah, I forgot… because if Steiner said it,  it must be true.  Right?  Are you willing to discount your daughter’s intelligence?  Because that’s what Waldorf says you should do, and that’s what Waldorf teachers are TRAINED to do.

Steiner ends his “Manifestations of Karma” lecture series with the following:

“Let us endeavour to bring ourselves completely to this, for only then shall we have an Anthroposophical movement which in our small circle exists for the study of spiritual knowledge. Then, however, this knowledge must — first of all in the circle of our members — become life and soul to us, and as such pass over into the world. And the world will gradually see that it was not in vain that at the turning-point of the twentieth century there were honest and upright Anthroposophists — people who honestly and straightforwardly believed in the might of the spiritual powers. And when they themselves believed in it, they became filled with the force with which to work for it. Faster and faster will civilisation proceed in our lives, if we within ourselves transform that which we hear into life, into action and into deeds — and not by trying to convince other people. The present age is not yet ready for that. Those only will be convinced who come to Anthroposophy out of the deepest impulse of their hearts; the remainder will not be convinced. We have karma in the mental sphere too, it was something called forth by materialism; and we must look upon these defects as that against which Anthroposophy must show itself to be a spiritual power.

Therefore that which we have to give to the world must be given out of the conviction that it is the most important thing. Each one who has transformed Anthroposophy into an inner force of his soul will be a spiritual source of strength. And whosoever will believe in the supersensible may be absolutely convinced that our Anthroposophical knowledge and convictions work in a spiritual way, that is to say, they spread invisibly into the world if we make ourselves truly into a conscious instrument, filled with the life of Anthroposophy. “

So, to summarize, if someone doesn’t believe in Anthroposophy, they are defective and a spiritual enemy of Anthroposophy.  Waldorf teachers are TAUGHT THIS.

Some who have been ousted from the school or even from their own families by Anthroposophists are coming to understand exactly how important this message of Steiner’s is.  It’s really Anthroposophists against the world, spreading Anthroposophy “invisibly into the world” to combat materialism… at ANY expense, even the education, safety, and well-being of our children.

Can anyone, after reading this, still send their child to Highland Hall with a clear conscience?  Or are you going to begin questioning what they are teaching our children?  There is no mistaking what Waldorf teachers are taught.  And there’s no mistaking WHY. 

Because Highland Hall is unwilling to discuss this material openly, it has only become more suspect in this.  I have sounded the alarm.  Parents, it’s up to you now to hold Highland Hall accountable for what they are teaching your children. 

In this letter, I’d like to put out a special appeal to alumni of Highland Hall.  Many of you know what happened there was wrong.  Talk among yourselves, compare stories, and be honest.  Be a voice for change at Highland Hall. 

My next step will be to focus public and media attention on Highland Hall and their racist teachings, physical and emotional abuse, and illegal activities over the past 50 years.  I encourage everyone to prepare.  Highland Hall has been hiding the truth about themselves from the outside world and harming children for five decades.  Please join me in putting a stop to this nonsense.

Pete Karaiskos

If this is the first email you have received from me, you can see my previous letters at the Highland Hall page of

Friday, June 26, 2009

Waldorf Education - Highland Hall - Recall

Highland Hall Waldorf School and I have had a long history. Now that my last child at Highland Hall has turned 18, I think it'd time to expose possibly the worst Waldorf school on the planet. I've set up this blog to examine my relationship with this school. Here are a few of my early angry letters to Highland Hall to get us started - then I'll name the people who have been the cause of the problems at Highland Hall:

If Waldorf Education is to have any benefit for children, that benefit has to come into their hearts on the wings of truth and honesty. Highland Hall has yet to learn its lesson about truth and honesty which regrettably is regularly sacrificed at the expense of our children. Recent events have reminded me of the wonderful Narnia story, in which Aslan's name has been taken by the impostor, Tash - and soon it becomes Tashlan. Waldorf Education in its true form has some wonderful ideas but Waldorf Education's ideas have been hijacked by impostors at Highland Hall, its benefits greatly diminished by those who would obfuscate the truth in the name of advancing Waldorf Education. Our children are learning the lesson that truth is subjective. They all witnessed the wrongdoing by Mrs. Leonard first hand. If Waldorf Education's ideals are ever to be advanced, perhaps we at Highland Hall should start by making the rule that "People who would do harm to children should not be teachers."
The Evaluation Committee's letter to the Fifth Grade Parents dated March 4, 2004 is replete with omissions that reflect the dishonest process by which Mrs. Leonard has been absolved of any guilt in the recent events surrounding her classroom. I would say "pardoned" of any guilt but judging by the letter, no guilt has been attributed to her. It's as if the stories read themselves and the pills dispensed themselves. Highland Hall's dishonesty in the production of this letter reflects Highland Hall's dishonesty in the handling of this matter. I respectfully submit my:
Suggested revisions to the Evaluation Committee's letter
Dear Evaluation Committee,
In reading your recent letter dated march 24, 2004, I am concerned that I haven't received a complete copy as many sentences seem unfinished and incomplete. Please advise me as to whether you intend to complete this letter and resend it. Here are a few examples of what I mean:
"Recently some concerns were brought to our attention in regards to Mrs. Leonard's fifth grade. One concern involved stories from the Egyptian block about the gods Osiris and Geb."
The second sentence seems incomplete as simply reading Egyptian stories shouldn't bring concern to anyone. Perhaps it should have said "One concern was that Mrs. Leonard during the Egyptian block read to the class inappropriate stories about the gods Osiris and Geb that included incest and rape and issued a homework assignment that implied that Mrs. Leonard had found Orisis' severed penis." Because of the omissions, one who is filling in the blanks might have read "Recently some concerns were brought to our attention in regards to Mrs. Leonard's fifth grade. We're not going to mention that they described incest and rape because if you don't already know about it, we're not about to tell you. In fact, we're going to treat the entire matter as Mrs. Leonard treated it, by pretending it didn't happen."
"Another concern involved an over-the-counter supplement that was to be taken by one student for a limited time during the 2002-2003 school year but that another student said they had been given."
In this sentence, it appears that only one child was involved and the sentence doesn't identify who had administered the supplement. Clearly this was an oversight and I imagine this sentence was intended to read "Another concern involved an over-the-counter supplement that was to be taken by one student for a limited time during the 2002-2003 school year but that TWO other students said they had been given by Mrs. Leonard, one of whom took the supplement." Because of the omissions, one who is filling in the blanks might think that you don't believe any wrongdoing occurred with the second child because the child was brave enough to not take the pill that was being given him by Mrs. Leonard and in fact threw it at her. One might also conclude that the Evaluation Committee has made the decision that the issue about the second child is a non-issue to the rest of the parents who expect you to deal with this matter in clarity.
"We have thoroughly reviewed these matters with information from interviews with Mrs. Leonard, thirteen families in the class, four students (with their parents' permission), and two other adults who were periodically in the class during that 2002-2003 school year. We have been unable to identify the brand name or ingredients of the supplement as the parent who supplied it does not remember it specifically from her purchase over a year ago at a local Healthy Discount store."
I am baffled by this paragraph. While I'm sure the identification of the product and its place of purchase might have been important to someone interested in purchasing it for their own child, I can't see why a year later, the name of the product is more important than the fact that it was distributed to a child that wasn't meant to receive it. Certainly you didn't drag our children into an interview to ascertain the name of the product? Perhaps, the Evaluation Committee needs to have a drug administered to itself that would cause it to tell the truth. Then the above paragraph might sound like "We have thoroughly reviewed these matters with information from interviews with Mrs. Leonard, thirteen families in the class, four students (with their parents' permission), and two other adults who were periodically in the class during that 2002-2003 school year. Rather than tell you the results of these interviews or disclose any information that would be helpful to you, we are going to pretend that identifying the ingredients of the supplement and where it was purchased was the most important part of the investigation. Our investigation consisted primarily of chastising your children under the pretense of questioning them. If we were inclined to tell the truth, we would have to admit that Mrs. Leonard, despite her denial and despite our best efforts to sway testimony, was implicated as having dispensed a drug we cannot identify to children it was not intended for. This was apparently done without knowledge of the children's medical history, whether the children were under any other medication at the time or whether the drug might be in conflict with such medication or be otherwise harmful to the children she dispensed it to. We are inclined to believe Mrs. Leonard over the testimony of the children who withnessed and participated in this incident. Our lawyer informs us that while this is a crime in public schools, it is not a crime in private schools."
"We believe the incidents related to these concerns were atypical and that they do not represent the overall high quality of Mrs. Leonard's teaching."
While I'm sure it is evident how you came to this conclusion, this sentence doesn't give enough credit to your investigation and the process by which you arrived at your conclusion. Perhaps it should be embellished with "We believe the incidents related to these concerns were atypical and that they do not represent the overall high quality of Mrs. Leonard's teaching. While some parents have brought to our attention the matters of inappropriate sexual conversations in front of the children and revealing swimming attire worn by Mrs. Leonard at the 4th grade camping trip, the searches of the boy's backpacks and confiscation of personal property last year and the corporal punishment of running laps, the bleeding quilt story that gave some children nightmares, the sexist anti-male comments, the alienating of the fathers in the class and separate incidents of inappropriate comments to individual children that those children found disturbing, we feel that all these incidents are also atypical. We have made no connection between the sexist anti-male comments, the alienating of the fathers, the searches of the boy's backpacks, the two stories about a boy raping his mother and the severed penis, and the fact that calming pills were given to the boys in the classroom. In fact we have no evidence suggesting that Mrs. Leonard is displaying sociopathic anti-male behavior. What we're really trying to focus on here is the overall high quality of Mrs. Leonard's teaching - and if disgruntled parents would only stop listening to the complaints of their children and concentrate on the high quality of Mrs. Leonard's teaching, we can get on with what's important - which isn't the well-being of the children but the high quality of Mrs. Leonard's teaching."
Certainly, one would have had to have been in a coma over the past two years to believe that these incidents are atypical. In your letter alone you are excusing 1) the reading of the incest/rape story, 2) the homework assignment about Osiris' severed penis, 3) the distribution of pills to two separate children over a period of time and 4) the conflicting stories by Mrs. Leonard to explain her actions. This is not "atypical", it is a harmful pattern of poor judgment followed up by subterfuge and deceit if there ever was one. If this were a public school, there would be no question about whether Mrs. Leonard would be allowed to continue teaching. Our children don't deserve the consideration that public school children deserve? Why not just be honest and explain that the safety and well-being of the children has been sacrified in this issue.
"We have taken steps to avoid these situations in the future. We have had conversations with Mrs. Leonard to review the school's expectations, and she is in full agreement with the school's policies and principles involved. We are also refining and will be publishing our policy on medicine/vitamin distribution."
As you are updating your letter, perhaps the above sentence could be altered a bit. Let's try to make it more truthful shall we. How about "Just incase you have a memory of the incidents that have occurred in the past two years or aren't satisfied that rape, incest and drug dispensing should be treated as lightly as we have chosen to treat them, and especially for those of you who are demanding that we actually do something, we have taken steps to avoid these situations in the future. We have had conversations with Mrs. Leonard to coordinate the school's explanations, and she is in full agreement with the school's disregard for the policies and principles involved. We are also refining and will be publishing our policy on medicine/vitamin distribution. We may even revise the employee handbook. To compensate her for all the trouble you parents have put her through we have extended her contract for two more years."
A man used the same axe for fifty years. Over that period of time he replaced three heads and four handles but to him it was still the same axe. After the Wendy Wilkins incidents, a new administration was put in place and committees were formed - the implication being that we wouldn't continue to have these types of problems. Personally, I am sickened that we have to go through this all again. For two years, complaints about Mrs. Leonard have fallen on fresh deaf ears. Half the class has left the school. You, the Evaluation Committee, are either extremely naive and are only now learning all the facts despite your investigation, or you are complicit in whitewashing harmful actions against the children at this school. There is a clear and unmistakable pattern going back two years of Mrs. Leonard's poor judgment and controlling behavior that has been harmful to our children, harmful to our community and ultimately undermines the principles of Waldorf education. You choose to call her recent actions "atypical". I choose to call your assessment shameful. I hold my head up with pride knowing that people like you don't represent people like me.
I look forward to your revised letter in which you address these matters truthfully. I join other parents in prayer that you will reverse your decision to extend Mrs. Leonard's contract and terminate her immediately. Anything less makes a mockery of the educational system you pretend to advance and confirms your alliance with those who would do harm to our children.
For the record, I don't agree with everything Rudolf Steiner has said. On this issue, however, Rudolf Steiner and I are in complete agreement.
"The teacher must be one who is true in the depths of his being. He must never compromise with untruth, for if he did so we should see how through many channels untruth would find its way into our teaching, especially in the way we present our subjects. Our teaching will only bear the stamp of truth if we are intently striving after truth in ourselves." - Rudolf Steiner
Pete Karaiskos