Steiner School Accused of Being a Violent Cult

Rudolf Steiner Schule Aargau

The Rudolf Steiner Schule Aargau, in Schafisheim, Switzerland, is facing the prospect of legal action from a very unhappy parent. This was featured in the Tages-Anzeiger paper, and a translation of the French version of the article is available below.

Notice how karma is once again mentioned and how one of the children was threatened with expulsion if his parent wouldn't acquiesce to the school's demand.

Regarding the chief inspector of school's concern with the way discipline is dealt with in that school, this brings us back to the document from The Hague Circle which was also featured in our "Mr Gove's State-Funded Anthroposophy" video.

This document was signed in November 2009 by many Steiner representatives worldwide, including Switzerland, and it states that one of the "marked characteristics of a Waldorf [Steiner] school" is that "Pedagogical methods [will be] used in dealing with discipline".

It also states that "Schools or kindergartens which do not reflect these characteristics don't belong to the worldwide movement of Waldorf Schools or Waldorf Kindergartens". The basis of the pedagogy is laid out, in this document, to be based on Rudolf Steiner's volume of lectures called "A General Knowledge of the Human Being" or "The Study of Man".  

In Lecture 2, discussing the mental picturing abilities of humans:

"When we have thus clearly grasped that the activity of mental picturing is of this image nature, we must next ask: of what it is an image? Naturally no outer science can tell us this, but only a Science founded on Anthroposophy. Mental picturing is an image of all the experiences we go through before birth, or rather conception. You cannot arrive at a true understanding of it unless it is clear to you that you have gone through a life before birth, before conception".

Since stories like the ones described in the article keep appearing online anecdotally, or in some cases, as here, more factually about Steiner schools, it does raise questions about the many accounts of esoteric beliefs about karma which admittedly underpin the pedagogy, and how such beliefs might impact bullied children as well as those doing the bullying.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the school head stated that if the reported events were even true, these were isolated incidents and his school will "always be against violence". Only time will tell if this Steiner school is now on "the right path" as they claim to be. For the sake of those children, we hope it is.


Steiner school accused of being a violent cult

20 May 2014

20 minutes: Une école Steiner accusée d'être une secte violente (basis for translation)

Basler Zeitung: Schwere Vorwürfe an Rudolf-Steiner-Schule

A mother has decided to begin legal proceedings against  a private school based in Schafisheim (AG). Mobbing, restraining, even physical violence may be common occurrences there.

"Our son was held so strongly by the shoulders that he ended up with bruises", confides a mother to the paper "Tages-Anzeiger". Another reveals that her son was dragged to the toilets and forced to wash his mouth with soap because he'd been rude. A third was offended by the way one of the teachers would punish troublemakers: with their backs to the class, facing the wall, so they could think about their actions.

For some, this was too much to bear. A mother therefore decided to lodge a complaint against one of the teachers. The matters in question weren't limited to physical constraints the students had to endure. Anthroposophy, a philosophy which is the basis of the teachings in all Steiner schools, may have been followed too strictly. To such a extent that some parents became worried that their offsprings were falling behind. "We had to hire a private tutor for our children, in order to get them to the level of others", tells a mother who took her children out of that school and reintegrated them into the public system.

When another mother demanded a reason for her daughter's treatment, they told her that she'd been mobbed "because of her negative karmic charge which she had inherited from a previous life". Yet another saw her son threatened with expulsion if she didn't allow him to be examined by an anthroposophical doctor.

Concerned Politicians

As they became aware of the complaints, the cantonal authorities responded. Chief inspector of schools, Monika Morgenthaler, speaks of an "exceptional situation". Her report, made public by the government, doesn't question the teachers' competence, but underlines the problems with the way discipline is dealt with. According to "Tages-Anzeiger", the document nonetheless explains that the school is aware of its failings, is now "on the right track", and states that this establishment still fulfills its criteria necessary to remain operative.

When the director of the Schafisheim Steiner school was contacted by the Zurich paper, he stated his regret at this situation: "if violent actions did indeed occur, they are isolated incidents. Our school is, and always will be, against violence", promises Lucio Carlucci. Even the Minister for Public Relations attempted to resolve the situation. A mediation process had been organised last week between the mother who lodged the complaint and the teacher accused of violent behaviour. The attorney asked the mother to withdraw her complaint. Without success.

1861-2011 : 150 years of Rudolf Steiner

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