Self-proclaimed police whistleblower Jonathan Wedger has been all over Twitter and Facebook recently, hawking the book Meat Rack Boy by Michael Tarraga, which was published 24 January 2019 by Brees Media.
Wedger certainly seems impressed by his social media stats, which have been enhanced by Tarraga’s story. In a recent tweet, he announced, “These children in care have to become our children“, followed by a quick update on his Facebook statistics. Completely unrelated, no doubt.
Interestingly enough, we were recently alerted to an ongoing news story involving a cult-like school in which children were being sexually abused by the adults into whose care they’d been entrusted. This has been occurring almost literally in Wedger’s back yard, but for some reason he’s ignored it completely.
The Rudolph Steiner School Kings Langley, a long-standing institution in Wedger’s home community of Hemel Hempstead, was closed at the end of term last year following damning Ofsted reports which stated that students were not safe in the school.
Parents who attempted to raise the alarm about safeguarding lapses were sent threatening legal letters, and some received anonymous threats in the post stating, “We know where you live. We know your children and where they go”, according to the Telegraph.
Now, teacher Denis McCarthy, who was suspended twice before being dismissed for gross misconduct in January 2017, faces a professional conduct panel which will run until 22 February.
According to the Telegraph:
The school’s most recent Ofsted report noted that “the culture for safeguarding pupils at the school is not strong enough” and that leaders have “underestimated and downplayed these inadequacies”.
Inspectors said that the process for addressing historic safeguarding complaints has “stalled”, and that “resolution is no longer in sight”.
Mr McCarthy was dismissed for gross misconduct in January 2017 following a series of concerns about safeguarding, but the school did not inform parents of this until August.
In the intervening months, Mr McCarthy continued to meet up with a group of RSSKL children outside of school, with many parents unaware about the nature of his dismissal.
One witness at McCarthy’s hearing, now a teenaged girl, described being sexually assaulted by McCarthy when she was 10 years old:
The girl told how the incident occurred at break time after a lesson. She said that Mr McCarthy had called her back into the classroom and the two of them were alone.
He took her to the back of the classroom, where they were out of view from the windows which overlooked grounds that were usually out of bounds to students.
The girl then described how Mr McCarthy had his hands on her shoulders before taking her up against a wall where he pulled her underwear and leggings down to her knees.
She said she struggled to remember precisely what happened then, but she pulled her leggings up and fled from the classroom into an empty corridor in a “stumble-run” before going to the toilet.
McCarthy denies all allegations against him.
The school’s closure came after a long fight for survival, during which parents were kept in the dark about the nature of complaints. However, there were multiple signs of safeguarding issues, bullying, and other problems having existed for years, according to students who attended the school.
Writing in the blog Quackometer, Andy Lewis notes:
A central part of [Ofsted’s] concerns were over “a culture of close relationships” between pupils and teachers. These relationships extended beyond the professional relationships you would expect in a school.
Lewis quotes a Waldorf (Steiner) school handbook for teachers, written by an executive officer of the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship UK. In a chapter titled “How to make it difficult for anyone else to teach your class—ever!”, teachers are urged to engage in something which closely resembles grooming behaviour:
Tell the class frequently that they are a very special group (they must be to have you as a teacher) and let them know implicitly and explicitly that you are the only person fit and able to teach them. Alongside this, it helps to hint frequently that no-one else can or could handle them as you do.
Make a particular point of cultivating the strongest leaders in the class so that they see you as their special ally, the only adult who understands them.
Ensure that class evenings have as much as possible the quality of a party held in your own home.
Rewards, for example chocolates (especially if the school rule is no chocolate), should be awarded to indicate how pleased you are with an individual (and, of course, it’s “our secret”).
This culture of close relationships is not particular to the Kings Langley school, but is part of the Steiner/Waldorf educational philosophy. Steiner Waldorf schools have been described as cult-like, closed, and secretive. Teachers at Steiner schools need not be qualified, Lewis notes, adding that the majority of teachers in UK Steiner Schools do not have a recognised teaching qualification.
As he correctly points out, “This reduces the barriers and checks that might prevent paedophiles entering the payroll”.
Waldorf schools are founded upon the anthroposophical teachings of Rudolph Steiner, although they often say that they “do not teach Anthroposophy”, Lewis says. However,
Steiner Schools are indeed Anthroposophical Schools in that every aspect of the curriculum, school structure, teaching methods and governance is determined by the occult teachings of Rudolf Steiner on education, including the need to build these ‘close relationships’.
Certainly, students at the Kings Langley school appear to have suffered the consequences.
This raises a number of troubling questions: for one thing, why has Denis McCarthy not been charged by police? And given that there have been allegations for many years about the school’s abysmal failure to provide adequate safeguarding for its pupils, why was the school not fully investigated when its problems were first identified?
And given that the school is In Jon Wedger’s bailiwick, why has he shown absolutely no interest in saving the children who may have been sexually abused right under his nose? The school’s problems have been extensively reported in local newspapers, and have been the subject of local discussion for some time.
For a brave whistleblower such as Wedger, this sounds like a perfect opportunity to make his mark in his own community. Surely it cannot be because neither VIPs nor SRA were involved?