|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
(People for Legal and Non-Sectarian Schools), situated in San Francisco.
For more on the litigation, see 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 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.)
"ALLIANCE DEFENSE FUND GRANT REQUEST APPLICATION
NAME OF APPLICANT: Capitol Resource Institute
dba Pacific Justice Institute
NAME OF PERSON FILING THIS APPLICATON: Brad
RELATION TO APPLICANT: President
TITLE (if applicable):
ADDRESS: 165A Commercial Circle
CITY: Sacramento STATE:
TELEPHONE NUMBER: 916/646-6232
(c) Identify the issue the litigation/project
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:
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
_X_ Religious Freedom
___ Sanctity of Life
_X_ Family Values
__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.]
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.