This is in response to your message in my smaller guestbook. That one doesn't really allow for discussion so I've copied it to this place.
I would like to support what some people have said about the site being out of date. Repeating allegations from the 80s uncritically isn't what I would call useful journalism. I agree that child abuse is abhorrent - who wouldn't? - but that doesn't mean allegations of child abuse, none of which were ever prosecuted, should be repeated ad infinitum.
Okay, I see where you're going and you make a few unsubstantiated statements: a) I am not a journalist, just a concerned citizen; b) the headmaster of the Dutch kids-school (Platoschool) was put on non-active by his own school board after complaints of physical abuse; c) I know of one case where three Dutch teachers escaped criminal prosecution because they decided to pay monetary fines for repeately hitting their pupils; d) contrary to your claims, the same headmaster mentioned above was indeed prosecuted. I don't know the outcome of that case though.
I've been a member of the SES since I was 17 - 16 years. I am not a religious person, and certainly not attracted to cults. In my view the school exists to teach and practice philosophy. Its philosophy is drawn from the Indian Advaita Vedanta tradition, because in the 60s the School got in touch with a guru or philosophical teacher called Shantanda Saraswati. His own words can be read in several books freely available, such as GOOD COMPANY (Element). Mike, if you want to know what the School is really based on, get hold of a copy and you'll be able to see for yourself without having to go near the SES. The philosophy espoused there is clearly Eastern, but it has large areas of commonality with Plato, Stoicism and Christian Humanism. I would challenge you to find anything he says that supports the view that the School is an oppressive cult. What you will find is the words of a supremely compassionate, loving, intelligent, untiring devotee of the teaching he espouses. My view on anything that is wrong with the School is that we haven't yet managed to come up to his level.
Kevin, what I am taking issue with is the behavior of the group. It is not okay to propagate oneself as a general evening education in philosophy while you very well know that only a special brand is allowed. It is not okay to deceive parents by withholding them information about what kind of beliefs the school stands for.
At worst the School is a slightly anachronistic and formal organization (in a damp, English way) that could do with loosening up a bit. People do get a bit over-enthusiastic about it, but they calm down after a few years. At best it provides an atmosphere and setting for people to explore what it is to be human with those of like minds. And it really does practice philosophy. You know - like all those old guys in the academic textbooks; not like the intellectuals that keep them there.
Can I ask you a question? Have you read this article and what do you make of it? http://www.philosophers.co.uk/current/cult.htm