Steiner Waldorf - Educating with (Feigned) Ignorance

Rick Salsa, the president of Canada’s Kelowna Waldorf School's Board of Trustees, finally spoke to news outlet “Castanet” after publication of an article in February describing how a third of students had left his school.

Those who are unaware of the deceptive communication style common to Steiner Waldorf advocates, could be forgiven for taking his puzzlement at face value. Why all the hate against his school which provides a “phenomenal education”?

Grégoire Perra, on the other hand, knows full well the deceit the people at these schools practise on a regular basis. He should, since he’s a former French Steiner Waldorf school pupil, teacher and anthroposophist. He says, for instance:

“Steiner-Waldorf schools, especially those under government contract, say: "we are regularly inspected, we totally comply with the standards expected by society." Except that I remember full well, as a student, that when inspectors came to visit and the teacher who taught us didn't have any diplomas, we were told: "children, today you will pretend. We are bringing in a new teacher. You'll act as if this is your regular teacher! He's going to teach a class that you won't understand. It's because there's a mean inspector who wants to close our school. Play along please, and pretend." And we did it! As a former Steiner-Waldorf teacher, I did the same thing. I asked these kinds of things from my own students. I remember how proud we were, once the inspection was over, when we were gathered all together, all of us teachers, that evening, and we were discussing the visit that just took place! We said: "it's unbelievable, the inspector was completely fooled! We did well this time! It was a close call though... All it would've taken was for him to turn his head this way to see that we were in the process of removing all the compromising material... and we were done for! It was tense!" I admit that this is exactly how it happened.”

So when Rick Salsa sheepishly states “I don't know what that is”  when asked about Ahriman, the deceit is easily laid bare. It doesn’t take much digging to discover how important Ahriman is to Rudolf Steiner’s philosophy. David Black describes Ahriman thus:

“The name Ahriman comes from the Zoroastrian god of darkness, the being eternally opposed to the god of light, who is called Ormazd. In Rudolf Steiner’s conception, Ahriman is opposed to Lucifer (literally, light-vessel), and the two of them together are opposed by the redeeming power of the Christ.”

The power of Ahriman and its effect on Steiner communities, technological advances, and the world, has been explored in a previous article.

You could argue that perhaps the president of Kelowna's Waldorf School's Board of Trustees wouldn’t be aware of such notions, but if our experience of trustees on a Steiner Waldorf school’s board is anything to go by, their belief in Anthroposophy is quite central: the wife of one such trustee wrote to us once on behalf of Archangel Uriel, divulging the angels’ plan to save humanity through Steiner Waldorf schools:

“This school has been targeted by spirit to help change the way children are been taught & we will NOT sit back & watch you all destroy the higher plan that the Angels of the seventh Realm are working with, time for change for the next generation is too short & each & everyone of these children is part of the light plan”.

It’s inconceivable that Salsa wouldn’t be aware of Ahriman, just like it’s inconceivable that Trevor Metham, principal of the UK’s Frome Steiner Academy would argue that Rudolf Steiner “did have some ideas on reincarnation, yes, I wouldn’t say he believed in it”, when reincarnation and karma are cornerstones of Anthroposophy.

Having so casually claimed ignorance about Ahriman, it’s also no surprise that Salsa would repeat the age old statement about bullying in Steiner schools: 

“As for claims from a former Waldorf parent of inadequate bullying policies, Salsa says he doesn't “really understand why somebody would say that.” He said the school takes bullying very seriously.”

Mark Thornton, principal of the Titirangi Rudolf Steiner School in Auckland - on premises which double up as the headquarters of New Zealand’s Steiner Federation - says exactly the same thing about bullying at his own school. When a parent thinking of enrolling her son enquired about this, he “assured me that they did not have any bullying issues at the school.”

It turns out the bullying her son would experience at the Titirangi Rudolf Steiner School was worse than the school he was escaping from, which was where his friend has hung himself due to bullying!

Faux-innocent public statements about bullying are nothing new, and neither is the nasty reality they hide. Anecdotal accounts are rife worldwide of Steiner schools attacking whole families because parents are forced to step in when bullying is left “unchecked”.

The Titirangi Steiner school, for example, expelled all of our children because one of them was being bullied. They also lied to the press about it. After a landmark Human Rights process, they finally acknowledged her “honest” accounts of bullying at the school. This included being threatened with an axe, at age eight, by a ten year old boy.

Behind public denials in the press, the reality at the school was that “the Anthroposophical Impulse is invoked as the reason that the school cannot come into line with the rest of the world on developing (and possibly adapting) a policy of zero tolerance of intentional hurting.”

The schools’ public puzzlement is what allows them to continue hooking new recruits. The Titirangi Rudolf Steiner School still advertises itself as a “safe, peaceful and natural learning haven”. Kelowna Waldorf School claims to “prioritize a safe and stable and stimulating environment.”

These two schools are half a world away, yet chillingly they are almost identically deceitful. 

But why? Why run schools at all if you’re actually prepared to hurt children? Grégoire Perra explains the importance of deceit to followers of Anthroposophy:

“Why such a masquerade? What justifies it, deep within the people who perpetrate such a hoax? How can one live and look oneself in the mirror after having committed such acts, and then commit them again?

According to my understanding, the explanation is that in the eyes of an anthroposophical teacher, a Steiner-Waldorf school isn't actually a Steiner-Waldorf school at all! It is the place for incarnating the spiritual forces who will save humanity!”

The ends justify the means in a Steiner school, and if they can fool you into enrolling your child there, the angels of the seventh realm win. And isn’t that what education is all about?

Related Articles

Fundamentalism Shrouded in Friendliness

Kelowna Waldorf School

Masks, Misrepresentations and Manipulations

Within Steiner-Waldorf Schools and Anthroposophy

Waldorf and the Media

The Lure and Appeal of a Low-Tech Steiner-Waldorf Education

Communing with an Archangel

Frailties and Limitations

Bullying, Karma and Parental Involvement

Lies, Damned Lies, and Steiner Education

Titirangi Steiner Messenger

1861-2011 : 150 years of Rudolf Steiner

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