Although she settled at the village school and the children
there were friendly, Joanna was still suffering badly from the rejection she had experienced at the Waldorf School. To be
the victim of bullying was bad enough. To be thrown out of the school because her teacher could not cope with either the bullies
or Joanna's reaction to them had created a terrible insecurity in her.
When she was asked to leave, this had been the only school she had ever known.
It was also the school her brothers still attended and loved, and the school, who's system of education her parents still
She was now the outsider at home. We told her that both schools and both
systems of education were good. It was just that she was more suited to the state system. It wasn't true. She was not an academic
child. She was very talented artistically. She was more suited to the Waldorf system, or at least to the artistic emphasis
that was a big part of their curriculum.
She must have seen though what we said. She knew we still believed in Steiner
education. They had made a thorough job of convincing us that state education was harmful to children, and we still hoped
to find a way to get Joanna back there at a later date.
When she was 10, Richard was about to move to Class 1. It had been felt that he
was not ready for Class 1 the previous year because of his 'soiling' and he had been kept back a year. We were hoping that
we could get Joanna back to the Waldorf school when she was 11 instead of her going to high school.
I still wasn't aware of the extent to which she had been bullied. I think she
must have repressed a lot of it as she told me parts of it over several years. In fact I am convinced there is still a lot
buried inside her. At that time, I still thought that a lot of the problem had been in her. I felt she was stronger now,
and her old class was bigger, and her old friend had made up with her. I thought it could work this time.
Richard's new Class 1 teacher was the mother of a Kindergarten friend of Joanna's
who had left the area and returned. The teacher invited all of her new pupils to a party at her house. She thought Joanna
should come along and meet her daughter again as they had been great friends in Kindergarten. Her daughter had also invited
another girl from Joanna's old class, and two others from the class came along because they had siblings in Richard's new
class. One of these was one of the bullies.
The two girls from Joanna's old class totally blanked her. They didn't even say
'Hello'. The teacher's daughter was encouraged by her mother to speak to Joanna. She did so briefly with her eyes nervously
on the other two girls. Then she ran off with them. It was obvious to me that the same game was still being played of 'Don't
you speak to her or we won't speak to you again.' just as had happened to Joanna when the new boy had arrived. The teacher's
daughter was desperate to be accepted in her new class. Sadly it didn't work for her either and she became the fourth girl
in that class to become the victim of the bullies and the third to develop school phobia.
I have heard since that this kind of nastiness is common among Waldorf children.
When a child leaves he/she is ostracised. It happened to a friend who moved away. When she brought her daughter back for the
Advent Fair to see all of her old friends, none of them would speak to her.
I don't know why this happens, but I imagine it has something to do with
the children being encouraged to believe that their values and beliefs, which differ greatly from those of the outside world,
Joanna came home and said that she was never going back to that school as the
children were horrible, so off she went to high school where everything went wrong again.