|Background Two public school districts
in California are the target of a lawsuit by a small, vocal anti-Waldorf
group called PLANS (People for Legal and Non-Sectarian Schools), for operating
Waldorf-methods charter schools, which is alleged to violate the Establishment
Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. For details, see
October 19, 2005: Defendant school districts,
Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD)
and Twin Ridges Elementary School District (TRESD),
file bills of costs for this litigation totaling $22,550.
September 28, 2005: Judge
Damrell rules that PLANS failed to carry its evidentiary burden of
establishing that anthroposophy is a religion, that PLANS' only proffered
evidence, the book The Waldorf Teacher's Survival Guide by Eugene
Schwartz, found at one of the defendant's schools, is inadmissible for
several reasons, and that because the issue whether anthroposophy is a
religion is a threshold issue, PLANS' failure to satisfy its burden of
proof disposes the action (case). Therefore, the Defendantsí motion for
judgment is granted and it is adjudged that "Plaintiff take nothing, that
the action be dismissed on the merits and that Defendants recover their
costs." PLANS has 30 days from this ruling to appeal.
September 23, 2005: PLANS
files objections to the exclusion witnesses and exhibits: "the defendants
... caused the court to exclude a series of percipient and material witnesses
and exhibits", and claims that since PLANS did not put forward any evidence
at the trial, "the court has no basis for making a factual finding that
Anthroposophy is not a religion." One particular exhibit, the book The
Waldorf Teacher's Survival Guide by Eugene Schwartz, "should shift
the burden to the Defendants to explain that Waldorf education is not religious."
September 22, 2005: News
story of the trial at Sacramento News and Review also gets a
few facts wrong: "[PLANS] refused to make its case in front of U.S. District
Judge Frank C. Damrell on the first day of trial, September 12". In fact,
PLANS failed to make its case.
September 18, 2005: Rudolf
Steiner College disputes PLANS' claims about the College's relationship
to Dr. Crystal Olson, whose testimony was excluded in the trial, and the
relevance of her testimony to the question whether anthroposophy is a religion.
September 17, 2005: News
story of the trial at The Union gets a few significant facts wrong,
"Waldorf opponents lose in court decision".
The Union serves western
Nevada County, CA.
from the Anthroposophical Society in America in response, "Missing
some points". "There were significant errors of fact in your article, 'Waldorf
opponents lose in court decision.' "
from Caleb Buckley of Yuba River Charter School in response, "The Waldorf
method". "I was surprised to see quotes from the PLANS group since they
have been deemed by a federal court to have no basis for their claims against
September 16, 2005:
file motion for final judgment that anthroposophy is not a religion
and all other issues in the case are disposed under Rule 52(c).
September 15, 2005:
release from Anthroposophical Society in America comments on the trial
and the failure of PLANS "to prove that anthroposophy is a religion for
establishment clause purposes"
September 14, 2005:
announces that they will appeal the trial outcome: "PLANS was unable
to put on its case because of the court's evidentiary rulings, which we
believe to be both erroneous and prejudicial."
analysis and commentary on the PLANS press release: "PLANS Loses Waldorf
Court Case, Lies About it in Press Release" by Daniel Hindes
on the PLANS press release: by Linda Clemens: "This is so far fetched,
I don't know why we're spending so much time, but I wanted to give you
every opportunity," remarks Judge Damrell
September 13, 2005: Press
release from the Yuba River Charter School comments "After seven years
and over half a million dollars in tax payer money wasted, the PLANS attorney
had to admit in court that he had no admissible evidence connecting Rudolf
Steiner's philosophy of anthroposophy with a religion." Yuba
River Charter School is one of the public
Waldorf-methods charter schools named in the lawsuit.
September 12, 2005: According to a court
a full, free and fair trial lasting 30 minutes, the Plaintiff PLANS
Inc failed to provide any admissible evidence that anthroposophy is
a religion for Establishment Clause purposes." A motion by Defendants
52(c) dismissal is being drawn up and a ruling from the Court will
be issued after September 29. The
trial transcript is now available.
Two public school districts in California are the
target of a lawsuit by PLANS, Inc. for operating Waldorf-methods charter
schools, which is alleged to violate the Establishment Clause of the First
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Details here
PLANS, Inc is a small, vocal anti-Waldorf group located
in San Francisco, CA. Details here.
Background information on applying Waldorf methods
in U.S. public schools, here.