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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Email - Leonard Abuse


I know many of you who have been following this drama are not parents of the 5th grade so you probably didn't receive the letter below from Highland Hall's Evaluation Committee.  I include it below so that some closure can be realized for those of us who are as concerned about the actions of the school as the actions of Mrs. Leonard.  I also have included my commentary after the letter because *true* closure will not occur until the people who have been intentionally and regularly exposing our children to harm in order to cover up the activities of one of their own have been held accountable for their actions.  Here is Highland Hall's letter:


April 7, 2004

Dear Parents of the Fifth Grade,

In the school’s last communication to you, we welcomed Christine Leonard as the continuing class teacher for your students.  Since then, some continued events including a questionable for Main Lesson, have caused us some concerns about Christine’s recent choices for the class.  Therefore, after careful consideration and extensive discussion, the Evaluation Committee with the concurrence of the College, has decided to put Christine on a paid leave of absence for an as-yet undetermined period of time.

We appreciate the many gifts Christine brings to the Fifth grade class as their teacher and greatly value the positive work and heartfelt care she brings to both her class and the school as a whole.   It is our goal to use this time to work with Christine to arrive at the best decision for her and the Fifth grade class.

First and foremost, our primary concern is to ensure that the children of the Fifth grade are cared for and able to continue their education with the support of the whole school.   If your children have questions about this matter, we strongly remind you that the information we share here is meant for you, as adults.  Please use caution and restraint in what you share with your child; words can be very powerful in the images they convey.  We suggest that you share with your child that Ms. Leonard has been given this time off and that this is not a “punishment”.  A faculty member will greet them on Monday morning to speak about this change and introduce their substitute teacher.  All of the teachers will continue to carry the class and we will let you know as soon as possible who their substitute teacher will be during this time. 

Many of you may be aware of the recent email campaign criticizing Christine and the school.  Please be assured that our decision has not been shaped by these actions, but was made to support both the students and the class teacher.

Because of vacation planning and holidays, it is not feasible to hold a parent meeting during spring break.  We expect to hold one shortly after school resumes.  To minimize any disruption to the class’ rhythms and plans during this time, we are working closely with Christine and will contact you as more information is finalized.   If you have any questions or comments, please contact Lori Gardner on behalf of the Evaluation Committee.


The Evaluation Committee
Noah Williams, Merrily Lovell, Humberto Ramirez, Joan Newton, Lori Gardner


I would first like to thank Highland Hall for not dragging this out through the end of the semester and for finally taking appropriate action.  I am also grateful for the obvious learning experience that has transpired on the part of Highland Hall as evidenced by their statement above "words can be very powerful in the images they convey."  This is, of course taken out of context and the complete sentence is "Please use caution and restraint in what you share with your child; words can be very powerful in the images they convey."  It is unfortunate that the powerful images conveyed to our children by Mrs. Leonard's words of rape, incest, battery and mutilation were not immediately taken seriously by the very same people who now advise us as we are speaking to our child of Mrs. Leonard's leave of absence, that we had better watch what we say. 

I hope Highland Hall's Evaluation Committee does not take offense when I choose not to accept their advice regarding communication with my children as experts on communication they certainly are not.  I have no trouble communicating honestly with my daughter and I will simply suggest that Mrs. Leonard may have been a sick person who was very good at disguising her illness through deceit and now has the opportunity to rest and get help.  In fact, I will only have to confirm this as  my daughter already has come to this conclusion on her own.  I will, however, avoid confirming to my child that Highland Hall, having been made aware of her illness continued to support Mrs. Leonard - but she knows this too.  I hope I will not be forced to explain that many people at Highland Hall suffer to some degree from a similar illness and, perhaps, that's why Mrs. Leonard's illness may have seemed normal to them.  Maybe this illness is genetic - let's ask Rudolf Steiner:

"The girl L.K. in class one of those cases that are occurring more and more frequently where children are born and human forms exist which actually, with regard to the highest member the ego, are not human at all but are inhabited by beings who do not belong to the human race...They are very different from human beings where spiritual matters are concerned. For instance they can never memorise sentences, only words. I do not like speaking about these things, as there is considerable opposition about this. Just imagine what people would say if they heard that we are talking about human beings who are not human beings. Nevertheless these are facts. Furthermore, there would not be such a decline of culture if there were a strong enough feeling for the fact that some people, the ones who are particularly ruthless, are not human beings at all but demons in human form.
"But do not let us broadcast this. There is enough opposition already. Things like this give people a terrible shock. People were frightfully shocked when I had to say that a quite famous university professor with a great reputation had had a very short period between death and re-birth and was a re-incarnated negro scientist.
"But don"t let us publicise these things."
(Rudolf Steiner, 1923, from Conversations with Teachers-4 pp. 36-37)

It is not in the nature of Anthroposophy to be truthful - and it is not in the nature of Highland Hall to be truthful.  If you truly believe that the email campaign by myself and other parents publicizing Mrs. Leonard's actions had nothing to do with Highland Hall's decision to remove Mrs. Leonard from her class, then you must be extremely naive.  Highland Hall needs people who will stand up to dishonesty and fearlessly point to the truth, despite overwhelming opposition, condemnation, threats and slander.  Highland Hall has many, many faculty and administrative staff members who are truthful and honorable - yet perhaps remain complacent when issues like these are exposed.  Please, join me in holding Highland Hall accountable for their actions and decisions.  If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.  Hopefully, we will never have to go through this again.