http://www.waldorfcritics.orgDebra Snell, President 12562 Rough and Ready Highway Grass Valley, CA 95945 (530) 273-1005 snell netshel.net Lisa Ercolano, Vice President 220 Gaywood Road Baltimore, MD 21212-1709 (410) 377-4204 momof2gals mindspring.com Dan Dugan, Secretary 290 Napoleon St. Studio E San Francisco, CA 94124 (415) 821-9776 dan dandugan.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 17, 2001
PUBLIC WALDORF SCHOOL SUIT APPEALED
On July 13, 2001, PLANS, Inc. filed an appeal with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The 9th Circuit will determine whether PLANS, representing its members who are taxpayers, has the right to sue school districts for violation of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.
This action is a consequence of the May 23rd dismissal of PLANS' lawsuit by the Honorable Frank C. Damrell (U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California) based on lack of standing.
Judge Damrell had ruled earlier (October 24, 1999) that PLANS did have standing. He allowed the schools to appeal that issue to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, but the appeals court refused to hear it. In his May 23, 2001 ruling, Damrell reversed himself, in the light of Altman v. Bedford Central School District, 245 F.3d 49 (2nd Cir. 2001).
In Altman, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals denied claims of church-state violation that Catholic parents had won in their federal district court against New Age practices in a public school. That appeals court said the case was moot because the kids weren't in school anymore.
PLANS alleges a fundamental and systematic entanglement with religion, not various disconnected practices as was the case in Altman. Debra Snell, President of PLANS, commented "If public schools can get away with establishing Waldorf schools, wholly based on the religious doctrines of the cult of Rudolf Steiner, then the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment has already died, and we've just noticed."
PLANS was organized in late 1995 by former Waldorf parents and teachers concerned about both private and public Waldorf schools. It became a California non-profit corporation in 1997. PLANS' volunteer board includes two public school teachers, one of whom has received Waldorf teacher training; the president of a skeptical society; the associate director of a Christian anti-cult ministry, and two former Waldorf parents. PLANS' President, Debra Snell, was a director of a private Waldorf school and helped found a Waldorf charter school. For more information, please see the PLANS web site, http://www.waldorfcritics.org.
PLANS contends that public Waldorf schools are intrinsically and inseparably based upon Anthroposophy, a New Age occultic religion. Curriculum decisions and teacher training in public Waldorf schools are based on Anthroposophy's spiritually based child development model. Publicly funded use and reliance upon the doctrines of Anthroposophy impermissibly endorse that religion in violation of the United States and California constitutions.
PLANS filed its federal lawsuit in Sacramento on February 11, 1998, naming as defendants the Sacramento Unified School District, which operates a "Waldorf Method" magnet school, and the Twin Ridges Elementary School District, which has established seven "Waldorf-inspired" charter schools.