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May 20, 2006

A Peculiar Grant Application Submitted by PLANS

Did People for Legal and Non-Sectarian Schools lie on their grant application to the Alliance Defense Fund which was submitted in 1997? You be the judge. Below are some quotes from the grant application, followed by questions and concerns about the accuracy of these statements. I’m also hoping to include explanations and excuses offered by friends and representatives of PLANS, to provide a full picture of the controversy.

As a public magnet school, Oakridge Elementary School in the Sacramento City Unified School District established a Waldorf educational program. This program included requiring children to fold their arms and chant, say a pledge to the sun flag, and other Wicca based religious practices. Rougly [sic] a third of the parents requested that their children be opted out of these religious based activities. The school district refused and told them that they would simply need to take their children to another school. Many of these parents are low income and cannot afford to drive their children to another school. Additionally, in Sutter County, students are sent on a compulsory basis to a Waldorf school (Yuba City Elementary School) when they have discipline problems at their former school.

1) “fold their arms and chant”
a)What does this mean?
b)What is being described here?
c)Is this supposed to be something weird going on just at this one school?
d)or is it supposed to be a universal practice?

2)”say a pledge to the sun flag”
a)What sun flag?
b)What pledge?
c and d same as number 1

3)”other Wicca based religious practices.”
a)What does Wicca have to do with Waldorf?
b)Please explain the following statements by Dan Dugan in relation to the “Wicca” quote in the grant application:
Question to Mr. Dugan:
"Is it your belief that students at John Morse (public school) are learning witchcraft?"
Mr. Dugan:
"No."
Question to Mr. Dugan:
"Is it your belief that students at Yuba River (public school) are learning witchcraft?"
Mr. Dugan:
"No."
Question to Mr. Dugan:
"It’s not your belief that Waldorf (Education) is the work of Satan?"
Mr. Dugan:
"I do not believe that Waldorf is the work of Satan."
(Source: Sworn deposition by Mr. Dugan in the case of "PLANS vs Sacramento Unified School District and Twin Ridges School District" lawsuit, Volume II, April 1, 1999, pp. 160 and 163.)

4)”Rougly [sic] a third of the parents requested that their children be opted out of these religious based activities.”
a)This is stated as though the parents spontaneously noticed that there was a problem at the school and demanded relief. The actual series of events are described here: http://www.americans4waldorf.org/History.html So, PLANS provoked the parents into outrage by feeding them false information about witchcraft, and then used that same outrage and misinformation to request grant support. Please provide ethical justification, or an alternative explanation.
b)Please also provide a copy of the leaflet distributed by PLANS “outside the school, protesting that Waldorf methods had been implemented at the school in September 1996.
According to the Sacramento Bee:
‘Several pickets said they were 'in the dark' as to what was happening at Oak Ridge until PLANS - People for Legal and Nonsectarian Schools - began distributing leaflets outside the school.’ [from AWE, see link above])
c)does the leaflet in question include allegations of Wicca practices?

5)Additionally, in Sutter County, students are sent on a compulsory basis to a Waldorf school (Yuba City Elementary School) when they have discipline problems at their former school.”
a)There has only been one compulsory Waldorf public school in California: T.E. Mathews School. TE Mathews is not an elementary school and is in Yuba County. Yuba City is indeed in Sutter County, but Mathews school is in Marysville, Yuba County. Additionally, there is no Yuba City Elementary School at all.
b)So which school is the grant application referring to? It needs to exist (or have existed in 1997) and be compulsory (or have been compulsory in 1997). And it should be an elementary school.

Response from Dan Dugan of PLANS:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/anthroposophy_tomorrow/message/26186

Response to Dan’s response by Linda Clemens:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/anthroposophy_tomorrow/message/26197

Posted by Deborah at May 20, 2006 7:40 PM

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