Apology

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
trubleshtr
Posts: 38
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:54 pm

Apology

Postby trubleshtr » Thu Jul 30, 2009 5:40 pm

Apology

I have read what happened to Clara and to many of you who have contributed to this forum. I wish you all could receive the heartfelt apologies you deserve. The acknowledgement of what happened and the empathy and caring that you should have had all along. As a member of the SES I am deeply moved and ashamed of what happened to you. I am ashamed of the past of the organisation I have belonged to for nearly 20 years. I feel we should all apologise and it doesn’t matter if we were involved with the organisation or the schools at the time or not, or where we live in the world. We should take responsibility for what happened because we are still involved. Abuse is not a ‘mistake’, it is not a ‘perspective’, and because others had different experiences does not detract from your experiences as children (and others). I hope all the members of the SES will add their own apologies – we engage in the SES because of the teaching of ‘unity’ not separation and because of kindness not 'control'. The title of Clara’s book has an effect in itself: shame on us.

Trubleshtr

User avatar
bonsai
Posts: 322
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2006 12:08 am
Location: London

Re: Apology

Postby bonsai » Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:28 am

trubleshtr wrote:We should take responsibility for what happened because we are still involved. Abuse is not a ‘mistake’, it is not a ‘perspective’, and because others had different experiences does not detract from your experiences as children (and others). I hope all the members of the SES will add their own apologies – we engage in the SES because of the teaching of ‘unity’ not separation and because of kindness not 'control'. The title of Clara’s book has an effect in itself: shame on us.

Trubleshtr, You have little to apologise for. You are one of the few who have been commited to trying to address things you observe are not right. It seems that only a small minority of SES members are committed to doing this and this is a shame.

I don't think apology on its own is enough. We have had some apologies already, though not enough from those who were really responsible. But apologies are just words. And words that are often dispensed too cheaply. If an apology is honest and heartfelt it follows that there is action; action to change that which caused the wrongs of the past. There has been little of this forthcoming and absolutely zero examination of the effect of teaching their Truth to young children.

Bonsai

trubleshtr
Posts: 38
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:54 pm

Re: Apology

Postby trubleshtr » Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:35 am

Point taken Bonsai.

But you know I feel it would do them good to do something - express sorrow or support or something, more than has happened so far and not only those implicated but everyone for we all know about it now. It does have to be heartfelt that's right. And they don't need to wait for Mr Lambie's permission to express themsleves. That is another thing, leaving everything to the 'top' people. I know I am being watched so at least that person could write to you.

But you are right Bonsai I do agree with you.

Trubleshtr

Bklynguy
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 7:36 pm

Re: Apology

Postby Bklynguy » Fri Aug 07, 2009 4:34 pm

Let me add something here. It is true. Apology isn't enough. What is needed is to examine the sort of thinking, or consciousness, or, in truth, the lack of consciousness, that led to these abuses in the first place. We have to understand what this thinking was, where it came from, how it led to the abuse, how, by that very fact, this thinking stands in absolute contradiction to what the School teaches and the ideals it formaly stands for, and to exorcise what remains of it and replace it with something more congruent with the principles of Advaita Vedanta. This must be done if for no other reason than to insure it never happens again.

I am an American and as much as I love and am proud of the ideals America says it stands for, I am the first to acknowledge the crippling inhuman effects such things as racism has had on America. Only when deep-rooted problems like racism are brought out into the open, exposed, and dealt with honestly does a place like America have a chance of healing and moving to a higher level. In the same way, I am a current member of the School, I find it to be very useful, most of the people involved in it to be very fine and loving, and potentially a place where spiritual development could take place, but the only way for that to happen is deal honestly with the School's past.

User avatar
bonsai
Posts: 322
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2006 12:08 am
Location: London

Re: Apology

Postby bonsai » Sat Aug 08, 2009 9:42 pm

Hey Bklynguy,

Welcome. I agree mostly in what you say. There is a danger that all this so called examination you talk about can turn into procrastination that ends up achieving nothing. It is now 3 plus years since Mr Townend completed his inquiry and yet very little has happened in the way of reconciliation that the school supposedly set out to complete and achieve. If you look at the inquiry website and the list of outstanding tasks, no progress has been made since the report came out.

Examination, simply means philosophising and procrastinating. What is really required by both organisations, the SES and St James, is to stop and listen to those who have been hurt by what they have done. The need listen with humility, care and kindness without concern about their own careers or anything else. Given that they have supposedly learnt about concentrating and breaking free of one's ego and truth, you would have thought that this isn't much to ask. But everything so far has been couched with two bits of information that invalidated any sense of apology. These are: Things have changed and secondly the intention was to provide the best education. I don't care about the intention. In that regard they failed and have to be judged by the results and all the more reason to listen to us. As to things changing, similarly I don't care. You hurt me back then and the fact that you have changed is entirely meaningless until you understand and empathise with the injuries of those hurt by the past actions. Until that has happened the organisations have not changed for the right reasons.

Bonsai

User avatar
ET
Posts: 194
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:49 am
Location: Gloucestershire
Contact:

Re: Apology

Postby ET » Sun Aug 09, 2009 11:02 am

bonsai wrote: But everything so far has been couched with two bits of information that invalidated any sense of apology. These are: Things have changed and secondly the intention was to provide the best education. I don't care about the intention. In that regard they failed and have to be judged by the results and all the more reason to listen to us. As to things changing, similarly I don't care. You hurt me back then and the fact that you have changed is entirely meaningless until you understand and empathise with the injuries of those hurt by the past actions. Until that has happened the organisations have not changed for the right reasons.


Hear hear. It's the refusal to acknowledge our suffering that invalidates any apology. If things have changed, it's because various people in the SES realised that they needed to. Surely the need for change means that something was wrong with what was going on before. Refusing to acknowledge that, listen and sincerely apologise to us "guinea pigs" who were damaged so badly is ridiculous and extremely hurtful, and makes me doubt that anything much has changed at all.
Pupil at St James Girl's School from 1979-1989, from age 4-14. Parents ex-members of SES.

Tootsie
Posts: 151
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:37 pm

Re: Apology

Postby Tootsie » Sun Aug 09, 2009 3:15 pm

On February 13, 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised for the hurt caused by decades of state-sponsored treatment of indigenous Australians. Listening to the speech brought tears to my eyes and many other Australians. Did saying sorry change anything here in Australia? Not really, its business as usual and I expect its the same in the SES.

Could I ask a question about those children who attended SES schools and are hurt by the experience. Is there anything that would bring healing to them?

josh
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2006 4:11 pm

Re: Apology

Postby josh » Sun Aug 09, 2009 4:24 pm

Sure,

For the SES to take responsibility for what they have done.
An honest, genuine, and unforced acknowledgement by the SES that what they did was wrong, and that Leon McLaren, their leader was wrong.
And for that to be demonstrated by actions, and not words.

Is that unreasonable, considering what they are responsible for!?

User avatar
ET
Posts: 194
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:49 am
Location: Gloucestershire
Contact:

Re: Apology

Postby ET » Mon Aug 10, 2009 8:53 am

Hear hear, Josh. Thank you.
Pupil at St James Girl's School from 1979-1989, from age 4-14. Parents ex-members of SES.

ConcernedMum
Posts: 93
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 1:58 pm
Location: Ireland

Re: Apology

Postby ConcernedMum » Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:48 am

Tootsie wrote:On February 13, 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised for the hurt caused by decades of state-sponsored treatment of indigenous Australians. Listening to the speech brought tears to my eyes and many other Australians. Did saying sorry change anything here in Australia? Not really, its business as usual and I expect its the same in the SES.

Could I ask a question about those children who attended SES schools and are hurt by the experience. Is there anything that would bring healing to them?


I am not one of those children and am not speaking for them but I think the various positions have been made very clear on this site over the years, neatly summarised by Josh.

I am a parent of a child whose education was disturbed when I removed my child from an SES school when I realised that the management of the school had been 'economical' with the truth about what is being taught in schools run by the SES.

I have become aware that there are plenty of other parents, who have also had to remove their children from the school for the same reason.

My point is that these children are also victims (though lesser ones) of SES disingenuous publicity and information. My recent experience of an SES-run school would indicate to me that there are ongoing problems with the schools and how those children and their parents are treated.

What I would like to see from the SES is absolute honesty and truthfulness and that the defensiveness and shiftiness around total truth and disclosure would be dropped. It is ironic that an organisation supposedly about the Truth doesn't seem to have a basic understanding of bog standard truthfulness.

An example of being truthful would be to publish study material on which the adult and child philosophy courses are based. Tell parents that the adult school financially supports a Hindu guru. Tell parents that the philosophical underpinning on which discipline practices in the schools are based is religion-based. Tell parents who pay for SES run Parenting Courses that the principles are based on religion before they pay for the course. Make it clear that Lucca Leadership, and all the other legally separate organisations, but philosophically the same and run by SES-members only are based on SES philosophy.

I think if the SES as an institution could get a handle on what it means to be truthful, then it is likely that a true apology and process of reconciliation could happen.

User avatar
bonsai
Posts: 322
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2006 12:08 am
Location: London

Re: Apology

Postby bonsai » Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:38 pm

Tootsie wrote:Could I ask a question about those children who attended SES schools and are hurt by the experience. Is there anything that would bring healing to them?


The people that first congregated on this forum to expose what goes on the the SES schools and brought the pressure to bear that resulted in the Inquiry, simply wanted a sincere and honest apology. Well we have had a apology of sorts, from both the governors of St James and the Head of the SES.

As I have said before there are elements to these statements that entirely invalidate any sense of humilty.

I've said this before on this site too. You know when you are looking after a young kid and he goes up to another kid, hits them and as they are doing so say "Sorry, Sorry". We tell them off, that saying sorry doesn't make it OK to hit someone.

Apologies must be accompanied by the recognition on the part of those apologising that what they are apologising for is wrong. It must be accompanied by responsibility for changing and safeguarding against those things happening again.

I am aware that both St James and the SES have changed but there has been very little evidence that those changes have been due to wrongs of the past that we complain about here. Nor is it clear that these changes are sufficient to ensure that necessary safeguards against things like this happening in the future, and this is simple because things that have evolved to being where they are today need to be considered against the new testimonies of the past. There is little evidence that this has been done.

First things first, I would like the SES to come out and clearly say that Mr MacLaren presided over the SES with a hand that was far too heavy and that it regrets those that were injured, harmed and wronged by this.

I'd like to see the Nicholas Debenham and Sheila Caldwell to apologise to those pupils that were wronged on their watch. They held the executive responsibility for both the actions and atmosphere at the time and they should acknowledge and show that they accept this as wrong. Of course if they don't think it's wrong then they shouldn't but the current heads should disassociate themselves and put significant distance between them and the past.

I was watching the channel 4 report again and Nicholas Debenham shows absolutely no compassion, care or humility towards those who have been abused. The only public statement from him has been that he is pleased that his use of corporal punishment was not found to be illegal by Mr Townend.

Ultimately I'd like to see both organisations behave in accordance with the principles that they tout. I'd like them to be truthful without regard to personal or organisational interest. Then they must act to examine very closely the way the promote their philosophy both in the adult philosophy school and the children's day schools. The philosophy itself has never been held up to scrutiny and was carefully avoided during the inquiry.

Bonsai

trubleshtr
Posts: 38
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:54 pm

Re: Apology

Postby trubleshtr » Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:26 pm

I agree with you ConcernedMum, and I have used the term ‘transparency’ in my own postings on this forum and letters to the Leader of the SES. In other words, if Vedic 'Teaching' &/or organised Hindu religious teaching is the cornerstone of the 'philosophy', which is definately the case, this should be transparent from the start for both philosophy students in the SES and for the parents of children when selecting the SES linked schools such as St James in the UK.

Trouble is that when the cornerstone of that 'Teaching' means that even today there is reluctance to accept a simple statement such as 'men and women are equal in status', if this was known from the start they probably feel insecure about whether they would actually get either philosophy students through the door or parents to send their children to the SES linked schools. So, transparency is substituted with ways of presenting the organisations which gloss over the issues. And as one of you put it to me the 'material' is then presented over the years in a 'drip, drip, drip' effect, so that it is taken on board subliminally. So when you look around the organisation you find that almost all the Leadership positions and positions of responsibiity are held by men, and where women have any responsibility they have taken on board the ‘Teaching’ regarding gender relations.

So, whether those in charge will manage to do what ConcernedMum suggests (quoted below), which is not only truthful but reasonable, I don’t know.

ConcernedMum wrote:

‘An example of being truthful would be to publish study material on which the adult and child philosophy courses are based. Tell parents that the adult school financially supports a Hindu guru. Tell parents that the philosophical underpinning on which discipline practices in the schools are based is religion-based. Tell parents who pay for SES run Parenting Courses that the principles are based on religion before they pay for the course. Make it clear that Lucca Leadership, and all the other legally separate organisations, but philosophically the same and run by SES-members only are based on SES philosophy.’


Now they have a whole new school to fill next year with senior boys. Since the deal was said to be a ‘merger’ it seems a pity that they could not have allowed the girls who were already at St Davids to continue their education uninterrupted and made the new school co-ed for the senior pupils. I wonder if anyone could answer that question?

Note on Lucca: although this is run by members of the SES, it is not only run by them. It is for young people and I would like to say that those I have met are delightful young people, and my personal hope for the future of the SES lies in how these younger people meet the challenges that lie ahead if/when they take on positions of responsiblity in the organisation.


Return to “St James and St Vedast”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests