Green Meadow Waldorf School
The high school math teacher’s pretense for the regular after dinner walks, Kate Christensen wrote, was so he could lend guidance and support to her, a vulnerable young student far from home.
But the 16-year-old’s reality was much darker. The walks, she said, led to terrifying episodes in a deserted field where he kissed her and pinned her to his belly, grinding himself against her and laughing at her attempts to flee.
But 35 years later, the PEN/Faulkner award-winning author has written a memoir that exposes those disturbing encounters and the revelations have set off an aggressive investigation by the progressive private school into other wrongdoings that may have gone on decades ago.
Her former teacher, identified by the Green Meadow school as John Alexandra, is a 71-year-old father with grown children. He lives with his wife in Spring Valley, a couple miles from the campus.
One student, Craig Gordon, spent 12 years at Green Meadow and left in 1979 without graduating. He didn’t know Christensen, but heard her being interviewed about the book July 10 on National Public Radio. At that point, he didn’t realize that they went to the same school.
“I literally had to pull my car over and stop and catch my breath,” he said. “And I thought, ‘Oh my God, did that crazy stuff happen at another Waldorf school like it did at mine?’ ”
Gordon said this ideology, taken piecemeal, can be positive. But when “organized in a dogmatic way, it gets dark,” he said, referring to Christensen’s revelations about her old teacher.
He said it was common knowledge at Green Meadow that some teachers and students carried on affairs in those days.
“Naturally it didn’t take long for him to suss me out as vulnerable prey: a fatherless girl, far from home,” she wrote.
She eventually told her mother, but nothing happened when her mother complained to the school and confronted the teacher, Christensen contends.
Decades of sex abuse: Waldorf school probe cites multiple teachers; failure to act