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Monday, July 28, 2014

Highland Hall Waldorf School - Remodeling over the skeletons in their closet

Highland Hall claims it has raised $1.7 million for a new performance theater. So there is plenty of money here to launch an investigation similar to Green Meadows Waldorf School investigation (I've checked pricing with the people who investigated Green Meadow).

Highland Hall has had many issues and incidents in the past with pedophiles and sexual predators among their teachers. Like Green Meadow, they have found teachers with child pornography on their computers (and the Green Meadow child pornographer was a regular guest at Highland Hall). There have been many well-known incidents of groping, sexual contact and even teachers sleeping with students that have been brushed under the rug over the years and decades - just like with Green Meadow. The link above lists the families who would rather see Highland Hall raise new buildings than raise old issues that have harmed so many children in their own community. If you have skeletons in your closet... it must be time to remodel! 

From their website:Highland Hall is committed to campus-wide renovation and expansion. Over the past few years considerable progress has been made toward achieving our goals.In 2007 a master plan was developed for the future of the Highland Hall campus which detailed plans for the renovation of existing buildings and the addition of new facilities.In 2009, Lower school classrooms were enlarged by 50% and two modular classrooms were added for our middle school. In 2010 construction of our new gymnasium was completed. In April 2013, our Science Lab was entirely renovated. Meanwhile our capital campaign has raised over $1.7 million for a new performance theater....Future Theater PlansIn the spring of 2011 plans to break ground were temporarily put on hold due to the economic downturn. As soon as the school's Board of Trustees determines that the financial situation has stabilized, the school will continue our capital campaign and move forward with construction of the new theater. 
In recognition of the outstanding leadership and generosity of the Keefer-Stark family to our capital campaign, Highland Hall is pleased to name the new theater in their honor.
Well, we could always name the investigation in their honor.

Reference articles:
(signed by people who later contributed to the building campaign)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Green Meadow Waldorf School Sex Scandals Revealed

The results of the investigation are in!

Here's the school's apology.

Page 5 describes them letting yet ANOTHER child abuser move on to another school.  They are HIDING the name of the abuserthe faculty member who knew about the abuse, and the school he was moved to (almost certainly another Waldorf school in California).  Page 6 describes yet ANOTHER teacher in  possession of child pornography - who had a "problem" with child pornography and took pictures of his students in swimwear.  Again, Green Meadow is hiding (redacting) the name of the teacher.  Eugene Schwartz!  Why?  The unnamed child pornographer is barred from Green Meadow property.  No mention of other Waldorf school environments.  He is being protected!  Schwartz roams freely at ANY Waldorf school.

The information I have struck out above was inaccurate.  The school did indeed publish the names of the abusers but the newspaper redacted those names (not the school).'s_Happening_Now/Green_Meadow_Community_Letter_-_July_2014.pdf

Alexandra's WIDELY KNOWN and sometimes CRIMINAL actions included inappropriate long and forceful hugging and frontal rubbing of women to the point of his visible arousal.   

Can we agree Green Meadow Waldorf School is a cesspool and that their teachers and administrators are lying cowards? 

Multiple teachers hid or overlooked John Alexandra's pedophilia and abuse of power at this school for DECADES! Alexandra's involvement in and contributions to Anthroposophy are significant.  He's a very big deal in the Waldorf movement.  
Teachers allowed this to happen.  "Mr. Alexandra was a prominent member of the community and in a position of authority.  Therefore his child victims were even less likely to come forward."  The article goes on to say adults "observed his inappropriate behavior yet encouraged students to maintain a relationship with him."

Which teachers were there during this time - besides the ones named in the report?

Well, for one, our good friend Harlan Gilbert -  relentless editor of the Wikipedia articles and author of Waldorf books - and his wife both worked there during the time Alexandra was there.  Any chance they hadn't heard rumors about him?  Or the teacher who molested a child on a camping trip?  Or the teacher who collected child pornography along with swimsuit photos of his students?  Their children attended this school while these predators were on the loose.  Are they outraged?  Or does Mr. Gilbert continue - even in light of these revelations - to do his job as a cult missionary and thwart any attempts at critical content of Waldorf on Wikipedia articles?

As I looked at the pictures of other teachers on their website, I couldn't help but wonder who knew about Alexandra's activities and said nothing.  Some have been at the school for a very long time - and in the Threefold community as well.  Is it just a huge cult environment?

Who else do we know from this school - someone who was around during the time Alexandra was molesting children?  Why our other good friend, Eugene Schwartz!  You know... this guy... THE CHILD PORNOGRAPHY COLLECTOR

The guy who mocks parents who complain when their child is bullied.  He and Green Meadow are discussed in this thread post Yahoo! Groups

The most disturbing part of this news story (to me) is the following sentence in the second paragraph (I've added my emphasis):

"The findings, revealed in a damning report by a private investigative firm hired by Green Meadow, also accuse two other teachers of sex crimes — one of possessing child porn and another of assaulting a girl on a school-sponsored trip. It says the school failed to act when complaints of teachers' alleged criminal behavior surfaced.  It says the school FAILED TO ACT when complaints of teachers' alleged criminal behavior surfaced.
In the case of John Alexandra, the alleged serial offender, the school's lack of response enabled his predatory behavior, the report finds.
'Allowing Mr. Alexandra to freely roam Threefold property resulted in giving him essentially unrestricted access to students and faculty members, and thereby enabled him to continue to victimize others,' investigators said."

"FAILED TO ACT" - Where have we heard that before?  Oh yeah, almost every critical review I've documented (over 600 now) suggests the parent approached the school first - and the school *failed to act* on their complaints.  Hey, they're all just hysterical parents - no reason to look at possible problems with the school, right? 

This applies even if action is required by the law:

Failing to act is essentially letting karma work itself out.  THAT'S what we're talking about here... it's the VERY SAME principle that Eugene Schwartz promotes when he suggests children's play should run out its course.
Bully and victim have a karmic role to play.  If it's a child's karma to be bullied, or molested, or raped by their teacher - or, as Steiner suggests, even to have a van overturn on them - too bad!!!  Much stronger forces are at work here.  Parents need to know that this is a BASIC principle of Anthroposophy!  Teachers will not interfere - even while they are watching your child being harmed!  EVEN if your child is being molested by a fellow teacher.  They will FAIL TO ACT because that's what karma (Anthroposophy) insists they must do.  It's CRIMINAL!
Green Meadow certainly seems to demonstrate regularly they entertain the very worst Waldorf has to offer within their community.  Parents should be warned.  Do you think maybe Wikipedia might mention something about it?

BTW, same school and the Chestnut Ridge community was involved in this story:

So, is Green Meadow a one-off case?  That's what we thought about another VERY similar case in 2009.

Excerpts are here:
The entire story is here:

"As an English teacher with a penchant for romantic poetry, Roger Graham knows how to write a love letter. But in 2001 when he began writing to one of his 16-year-old female students, the married Graham, in his fifties, may have penned the final chapter for the Newcastle Waldorf School, a Rudolf Steiner school he helped establish in the early 1980s."Dearest heart! Most beloved, heart of my heart!" he wrote to the girl, then in the same class as his daughter. "I yearn for your lips and arms … "
Graham wrote to "my luminous goddess" some 20 times over the next six months, during which they began a physical relationship, hugging and kissing before, during and after school.
"He touched my chest a few times and often squeezed my bottom," she wrote in a 2006 report to the NSW Ombudsman. They went to dinner together, and occasionally met after school at Newcastle's Dixon Beach, where Graham took the girl "up to the bushy hillside and was on top of me, kissing".
She wrote: "Perhaps the whole thing was a turn-on for him. Certainly he seemed to take more risks as time went on."
The relationship was discovered in May 2001, and Graham was stood down on full pay. Even then, he continued to write to the girl, his letters passed on by the school's co-founder and senior teacher, Keitha Montefiore.
In 2003 Graham was re-employed as a consultant to the school, but the position was terminated in 2006.
"Now, slowly but surely, Roger has started to appear around the school again," says Deb Wood, a parent of a former student. "There has been a push to get him back into the school, because they regard him as a guru. Staff members even approached the girl and her mother to see if they would not kick up a stink about Roger coming back."
For Wood it was the last straw. "I withdrew my daughter late last year, after it became apparent to me that none of the teachers, male or female, saw the inappropriateness of Roger having a relationship with an adolescent student."
Graham's re-emergence is the latest in a long line of controversies at the 140-student school, including the sexual grooming of students by male and female teachers in the mid-2000s and allegations of emotional and physical abuse dating back to the early 1990s.
In 1995 eight children and several parents made statements to the child protection and investigation unit of Newcastle Police, alleging seven teachers shook, choked, hit and kicked students as young as seven. A teacher also reportedly pushed a boy through a classroom window, breaking his arm.
The school - the recipient last year of $800,000 in state and federal funding - has since been the subject of complaints to the Department of Community Services, the NSW Ombudsman, the Association of Independent Schools, the Board of Studies and politicians.
"They espouse all these beautiful things about 'the kingdom of childhood' and the creative and expressive side of the education," says Maria Larratt, who withdrew her son Leo in June 2006. "But after a while you start to notice some strange things about the way the place is run."
Several teachers have gone on to marry former students, who in turn became teachers at the school. "The whole place is incredibly incestuous and parochial," says the former board member.
Called the College of Students, the practice has led to an unusual level of fraternisation between students and teachers. In 2006 a female teacher was dismissed, allegedly for inappropriate contact with two male year 12 students. That same year, a male teacher resigned, reportedly after a physical altercation with a student.
Of most concern perhaps has been the school's history of unorthodox discipline - what a Newcastle DOCS officer described in a 1995 letter to the school as a "concerning pattern of [the] use of physical force". The letter queried the school's solicitor, Bruce Hansen, about the use of "milkshakes", together with teachers pushing, throttling and kicking children, and quoted a girl, 8, claiming "nearly all of the teachers tell you that if you tell your mum you get more of it tomorrow".
There is far more in the article please read the whole thing.

Then there's this:

 The parents at the Waldorf school --- where the 67-year-old had worked as an English teacher at different grade levels since 2000 until his arrest --- were deeply concerned. "Since his arrest, there is nothing else to talk about," says one father as he stood amid the construction debris and insulation material that the parents --- on their own initiative and despite the holidays --- needed for the renovation of the orange-colored main building. They had collected more than 400,000 Euros [$580,000 US] in donations for the remodeling and new construction of a kitchen and a multi-purpose room. Everyone here is mum about the teacher. The parents just refer to the statement of the school administration. Among his colleagues on Saturday, the news was getting around slowly at first. "I just can't imagine it!" said a female teacher who only found out by querying the Tagesspiegel [Daily Mirror] about the case. "It's such a mystery to me!" The school has around 430 students and 35 teachers. In light of the existing case, doubts have been raised about the requirements for associations where adults work with young people --- better to check in advance as already required by sports clubs. "Wherever there is a lot of working with children, then police certifications must be required," said CDU-politician Peter Trapp to the Tagesspiegel.

Here's an excerpt from another very sad story about a Waldorf school that failed to act:

Now I am not upset anymore with the ten year old boy, who was hitting girls on the butts. He being an immature ten year old boy who needed an adult to sit him down and explain why that kind of behavior is not okay. I am livid and furious and outraged about how a grown man could sink so low as to sexually harass a ten year old girl and allow and condone that kind of behavior. I know that when teachers go to school to become teachers they are taught about education law and when congress passes a new law or the Supreme Court rules on a law regarding education teachers are made aware of it. Title IX was passed in 1972, nine years before I was born and twenty years before the incident. The Minnesota state statute says all schools even private much have a sexual harassment policy, and this statute was passed in 1989. I know that Mr. M knew what sexual harassment was and that it was against the law in the 1991-1992 school years. However,after I was sexually harassed he turned around and violated my civil rights and sexually harassed me and taught every single student in that classroom that sexual harassment was okay. As a woman, a feminist, and a future lawyer it disgusts me and boggles my mind. I've heard that a lot of times Waldorf schools ignore civil rights laws and it's wrong.\ation-charges/
"A former teacher in Sonoma Valley was jailed Thursday on three counts of childmolestation. Patrick Lilley, 52, was arrested after an investigation revealed hehad sexually abused two pre-teenaged students approximately two years ago.
Lilley was booked into Monterey County Jail with a bail of $300,000 and isawaiting extradition to Sonoma County, reported Sergeant Cecile Focha. According to staff at Monterey Bay Charter School in Pacific Grove, Lilley was employed there as a first-grade teacher at the time of his arrest; this was his firstyear at that school. Lilley had started at Woodland Star School in Sonoma Valley in September of 2004, teaching first grade. He moved along with that class through the fourth grade until June of 2008, when, according the May 2008 school newsletter, he left the area "to live closer to his sister."

Transferred from one Waldorf Charter to another.

What we thought was completely unbelievable is turning out to be completely excusable in Waldorf environments.