Application to Alliance Defense Fund for grant to support lawsuit
In July 1997, an application for $15,000 for legal expenses to pursue litigation against the Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) and Twin Ridges Elementary School District (TRESD) was made by the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) to the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF).

The application was made on behalf of Ms. Debra Snell, President of a small anti-Waldorf group called PLANS (People for Legal and Non-Sectarian Schools), situated in San Francisco.

For more on the litigation, see here and here.

PLANS was incorporated on July 1, 1997 and received its tax exempt status on October 10, 2000. The grant money was paid directly from PJI to the PLANS attorney Scott Kendall as expenses were incurred. According to PLANS, the group was never in direct contact with PJI regarding the grant.

The application to ADF contains the false allegations that the Waldorf program at SCUSD Oak Ridge Elementary School coerced students into engaging in "Wicca based religious practices" and rituals, which amount to "open religious proselytizing and coercion of children".

The following paragraphs are excerpts from the Pacific Justice Institute application to the Alliance Defense Fund. (Note that the Internal Revenue Service has required PLANS to make available for public inspection their exemption application and any supporting documents. This application is among those documents.)


NAME OF APPLICANT: Capitol Resource Institute dba Pacific Justice Institute



TITLE (if applicable):

ADDRESS: 165A Commercial Circle

CITY: Sacramento    STATE: CA    ZIP: 95815

TELEPHONE NUMBER: 916/646-6232


 (c) Identify the issue the litigation/project addresses:
Please note that ADF's mission is to provide funding, strategic planning and training for the legal defense and advocacy of religious freedom, the sanctity of life and family values: for ADF to approve your application your case or project must concern an issue in Column A., your case or project may also include an issue in Column B.

Column A.                           Column B.
_X_ Religious Freedom      __Pornography Prevention
___ Sanctity of Life           __Education
_X_ Family Values            __Legal Training
                                     __Family Preservation
                                    __Legal Aid to the Needy 
                                     __Other: Please Describe

(d) For "litigation" describe how controversy arose / "project" describe goals: 
Refer to crucial events, cases, dates, places and other pertinent information

As a public magnet school, Oakridge Elementary School in the Sacramento City Unified School District established a Waldorf educational program. This program included requiring children to fold their arms and chant, say a pledge to the sun flag, and other Wicca based religious practices. Rougly a third of the parents requested that their children be opted out of these religious based activities. The school district refused and told them that they would simply need to take their children to another school. Many of these parents are low income and cannot afford to drive their children to another school. Additionally, in Sutter County, students are sent on a compulsory basis to a Waldorf school (Yuba City Elementary School) when they have discipline problems at their former school.

(e) For "litigation" describe procedural history, current posture, and anticipated procedural developments of the case or controversy / "project" describe current
For "litigation" refer to court rulings, trials, appeals / "project" refer to accomplishments to date

A number of parents have filed administrative complaints with the Sacramento City Unified School District. A number of other parents have staged demonstrations in front of the school and roughly a third of the parents kept their children at home for a time as a sign of protest. [Comment by Waldorf Answers: For a report by The Sacramento Bee on the demonstrations in question, instigated by PLANS, see here.] Attorney Tim Smith plans to file a civil complaint in state court this summer, seeking injunctive relief for the parents.


We are sending a video of a news story describing this religious curriculum which your office should receive by Tuesday, July 22, 1997."

Comment by Waldorf Answers:

According to PLANS, the $15,000 grant was all spent in 1999, and as of April, 2000, PLANS' legal fees had come to about $46,000.

On Sun, 15 Jul 2001, Mr. Dan Dugan, Secretary of PLANS, stated on a mailing list he owns that PLANS Inc. owed their lawyer $28,566.36 for services up through the end of 2000, that he had not gotten the bill for 2001 yet, and that PLANS' lawyers estimated that the total costs for the case could amount to $180,000.

For a full overview of the case, see a documentation page on the lawsuit.

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