Student leaves school for sect
Feb. 7, 2004
Sladjana Labovic and Bart Middelburg
translation: Anton Hein, ReligionNewsBlog.com
ReligionNewsBlog.com • Saturday February 7, 2004
A commotion has broken out among students at the Vossius gymnasium in [Amsterdam] South because a fifth-grade student – who recently turned seventeen and for whom education is still partially compulsory – has decided to leave school in order to go fulltime into the Scientology sect. The boy’s father, a dentist in Amsterdam, has been a member for decades, and has reached a high status in the sect (so-called Operating Thetan level 7). The leadership of the school has reported the incident to the city’s compulsory education officer.
The student is going to follow a series of courses on board The Freewinds, Scientology’s exclusive teaching ship in the Caribbean. “It has indeed caused some consternation, says Vossius rector Jacqueline Ketel. “This concerns a well-functioning student, who only has to complete sixth grade. His results are such that he surely would have passed his exams. When such a student leaves school in order to devote himself to Scientology, yes that is something the entire school is talking about.
The student’s father joined Scientology – the pseudo-philosophy brought here from America, invented by the failed science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. According to his philosophy, seven million years ago the earth was harassed by the tyrant Xenu. As a result of Xenu’s tyranny, man is affected with all manner of traumas (‘engrams’) that can only be fought with endless courses, of which the costs could run into ‘tons.’ [a 'ton' is colloquial Dutch for 100,000 guilders = 45,378.02 EUR = 57,997 USD at time of publication. Check this currency converter (http://www.xe.net/ucc/full.shtml) for current rates - AWH]
At his personal Scientology web site, the dentist explains that he has always been interested in ‘the question of why I am on this planet, as a human bring.’ “I gained great admiration for L. Ron Hubbard, the man who investigated the mind and the intellect as no one else has done, and thus came up with answers no one had found before, but which are nevertheless true.”
According to rector Ketel the student has wanted to leave school for years in order to be able to devote himself to Scientology. However, until the age of sixteen one is subject to compulsory education laws. At seventeen education is partially compulsory. “This student is determined to leave school and the delve deeper into Scientology. He has convinced his parents that this is best for him, and his parents have agreed,” says Ketel.
The school’s board have pointed out to the parents that the student is still a minor. “This means they are responsible for this decision. In other words, the boy is taking out of compulsory education by his parents. But both have signed a declaration in which they say they agree to this.”
Sanctions for dropping out of school are not heavy. “The parents usually fined, but the fine is not high. It is likely that they have already counted on such a fine,” says Ketel.
Attempts to change the student’s mind have seen no result, she says. “Of course we have done everything to convince him that it would be better to first finish his school – and then make his own choices. His parents have told him this as well. But his reaction was, “I have something more important to do in life, and I have wanted to do this for years.”
The Freewinds is part of Scientology’s so-called Sea Org – an elite corps modeled after the American marines. On board, only the higher ‘levels’ of the operating thetan can be reached – after payments of tens of thousands of dollars. The ship permanently sails the Caribbean.
The school board does not want to give its opinion regarding the student’s choice. Ketel:” I do of course have an opinion about it, but I will keep it to myself. I do find it irresponsible to remove a child of seventeen from school. First do your exams, is my opinion, and then do your own thing.”
The Vossius school’s newspaper will soon cover the issue in detail.
Meanwhile, the father is not the only dentist with a high status within Scientology. Recently it turned out that dentist Hans Beekman, from Laren, also plays an important role within the sect. Beekman, who treats several members of the royal family, is – according to himself – ‘clear,’ a desirable status. Both dentist recently made the news for failing to treat patients who have left the sect.
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