No Space for Abuse

Waldorf schools are strengthening their safeguarding concepts to prevent violence and abuse.

The safeguarding concept was a first step in the supported development process that advances the transparency and openness of the schools as well as the quality of the work and the participation of the groups concerned, according to Eva Wörner from the board of the German Association of Waldorf Schools. In mid-December, representatives from the German Association of Waldorf Schools took part in the workshop discussions of the German Independent Commission for the Investigation of Child Sexual Abuse. At this meeting, the focus was on independent schools. A concrete example showed that it was imperative that institutions should be supported by external experts in their interventions and in investigating past cases. Transparent communication with the school community was also essential. The Independent Commission commented that for free schools «a certain self-sufficiency and isolation from the outside world» and «at the same time, the close bond between teachers and pupils, the strong involvement of the parent body in the school community, as well as the encouragement of charismatic teacher personalities can be risk factors for abuse». The German Association of Waldorf Schools already has a safeguarding concept that is obligatory for all schools. Eva Wörner, who is the board member responsible for this issue, emphasised however that this was only the beginning. The question of investigating past cases was also to be addressed more intensively.

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Translation Christian von Arnim
Photo Charlotte Fischer

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