“If only the public knew what they were they would be stopped on ethical grounds.”
Just one statement from a parent who has had a brush with Steiner and knows how they treat dissenters .
It is much easier to try to forget painful experiences, especially if you partly blame yourself for choosing such a school. Families who exit Steiner education in distress are sometimes never heard of again as critics, understandably they wish to put their experiences behind them.
Or sometimes they write anonymously; there is a private “survivors” group where families can share experiences without fear of retribution from the “movement”.
Parents of young children – and older children, just want to protect them from suffering any further problems than have already been experienced. Changing schools can be difficult enough for a child even when there is no animosity or bad feeling with the old school, so a positive outlook for the future seems better than dwelling on the past.
In addition to this the fear of persecution from some members of the Steiner movement, who pursue those they see as “enemies” relentlessly and seemingly with no scruples or compassion for them, is real and considerable.
What this means is that the Steiner schools carry on along their apparently benign, and outwardly rather beautiful path to spiritual knowledge, their reputation largely intact. Such criticism as appears in public realm is not immediately obvious, and can easily pass under the radar of parents wondering if Steiner education is right for their child.
I and others can write all we like about the defects of the Steiner creed and the way it operates, but many people, even those who have a responsibility to be informed, still prefer to believe the image they are presented with, and don’t see any need to investigate further. As has been mentioned before, some of the realities of Anthroposophy are so preposterous, they are difficult to comprehend or acknowledge, and this of course makes criticism more difficult to communicate.
But anyone who speaks out against Steiner is at risk. An example of this is the trial of Gregoire Perra; a former anthroposophist and Steiner student and teacher taken to a criminal court a year ago simply for stating the truth about anthroposophy and Steiner education . He was vindicated at last and the process of the trial exposed many faults within Steiner, but what motivates an organisation to pursue individuals in such an extreme way?
As he said in part two of his article “My life among them”, in the section “I would leave”, anyone who expresses disapproval about Steiner methods is vulnerable to attack;
“…it is not enough for Anthroposophists to expel someone who resists them, first they must demolish him, morally, socially, and psychologically. Certainly, if the individual emerges still standing, there is a serious risk that he will tell what he saw and heard. It is therefore necessary to take him apart him first.”
Critics the world over have been targeted by anthroposophists who use pseudonyms, at least one of whom has commented on this blog in the past. It seems they sometimes pose as mothers and fathers on forums and use multiple identities in an attempt to present Steiner in a positive light. If all else fails a tactic is to pursue families and parents individually until they retreat, or attack online until a forum is taken down because of the unpleasant nature of the personal attacks.
So the cult of Steiner continues, and even thrives, with state endorsement in the UK.
As Free Schools multiply there will be more accountability and openness demanded of the Steiner movement, and the resulting conflict from within will be interesting to observe. Parents who have sent a child to a state-funded free school will not be so quick to blame themselves for having chosen such a school, they will blame the government for allowing the school to open.
These families will not be so easy to quieten.