The idea that karma could be used to justify nonintervention or passivity in the face of inappropriate behavior in a classroom or on a playground is nonsense. In particular, Steiner is clear that this earthly world is not a world in which any spiritual concept or understanding can be used to justify violence of any sort.
Yet, apparently, it seems to be happening, so one must conclude that the doctrine is ‘suitable’ for such ‘misunderstandings’. But then he modifies what he says:
Steiner is clear that a teacher’s job (not simply a “Waldorf” teacher’s job) is to intervene with whatever wisdom he or she can muster to assist the students in his or her care in overcoming their past karma and establishing “good” karma for the future. Intervening in another person’s karma is a tricky business, perhaps off-limits in adult relationships, or permissible only in rare circumstances, but it forms the basis for part of our work as teachers, whether or not we acknowledge it.
Is he really ‘clear’ about this? And although I agree that if teachers work with karma, they should openly acknowledge this, I do at the same time wonder whether a child’s karma (be that a useful idea or not) is at all the teacher’s business. It appears to me that intervening for ‘this-worldly’ and humane reasons should be much less tricky, and involve significantly fewer spiritual pitfalls.
Perhaps this would have been fit for posting in the recent karma-thread, but I have a vague memory that it derailed. Still worth reading some of the contributions in that comment thread though. Perhaps I’ll fish up a few of them for you later.