Teen accused of casting spell sues Oklahoma school district
By The Associated Press
An Oklahoma high school student and a Louisiana pagan minister both
are taking battles involving witchcraft to court.
Fifteen-year-old Brandi Blackbear who says school officials
have accused her of being a witch and casting a spell on a teacher
filed a federal lawsuit last week against public school officials in Tulsa who
suspended her last year.
"This little girl has suffered tremendously emotionally," said John
Mack Butler, an American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma attorney
representing Blackbear in the case. "Her constitutional rights have been
An attorney for the school district said it would "defend itself
"We try our cases in the court house and not in the media," Doug Mann
Blackbear said she was suspended for 15 days last December from Union
Intermediate High School after officials accused her of being a witch and
casting a hex on a teacher who had to be hospitalized. The teacher, identified
in the lawsuit only as Mr. Kemp, is not a named defendant.
Prior to the suspension, the school was supposedly rife with rumors
that Blackbear, then a ninth-grader, was a witch after she checked out a book
in the fall of 1999 from the eighth-grade library that contained a section
about the Wicca religion.
School administrators are accused of coercing Blackbear to confess
that she was a witch who cast a spell on the teacher. But Blackbear says she's
not a witch and does not practice the Wicca religion.
The lawsuit, filed Oct. 26, also accuses school officials of trying to
suppress any inclination or expression of the Wicca religion. Blackbear said
school officials discovered a five-pointed star with a circle she had drawn on
her hand. Officials allegedly said the emblem was an occult symbol and that
Blackbear couldn't display it.
Blackbear said she had seen the symbol but didn't know what it
ACLU attorneys say school officials also violated Blackbear's rights
over a 19-day suspension in April 1999 in which a short story with a reference
to an armed student was taken from her.
The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, claims violations of the
First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and
various breaches of the Civil Rights Act. Defendants include Tulsa's Union
Public Schools and nine school board members, principals and counselors.
Calls to several individual defendants were not immediately
Meanwhile, Monte Plaisance, a 28-year-old Wiccan minister in Houma,
La., filed a federal lawsuit late last month challenging a Terrebonne Parish
ordinance banning fortunetelling and palm reading.
Plaisance said that on Aug. 18, a city detective showed up at the
witchcraft museum he owns in Houma, a town of about 30,000 people about 30
miles southwest of New Orleans. The detective told Plaisance he was
investigating a complaint about the goings-on at the museum.
Plaisance, who says he communicates with ancient Greek deities, let
the detective photograph the museum's Tarot cards, altar, crystal balls,
trident wands and pentagrams. The museum also serves as a church for a coven of
about 20 witches, Plaisance said.
"I don't see that I'm a threat to anybody," Plaisance said. "This is
how we communicate with our gods and guide our lives."
He was joined in the Sept. 29 lawsuit by 19-year-old coven member
Anthony Folet, a palm reader. The suit challenges the law on the basis that it
prevents them from practicing their religion.
The ordinance was passed under a state statute that allowed local
governments to regulate such activities, said Joe Cook, of the Louisiana
chapter of the ACLU. The ACLU is representing Plaisance and Folet in the
The ACLU argues that if the parish bans fortunetelling, then it
effectively bans weather predictions, fortune cookies, commodities predictions
and doctors' prognoses.
Student accused of practicing witchcraft loses lawsuit
Federal judge rejects Oklahoma teen's claims that school officials suspended her because of her interest in Wicca.
Antiquated N.C. laws linger on books
Wiccan charged under anti-divination statute claims law violates her free-speech, religion rights.
Federal judge upholds Indiana students' right to wear Wiccan symbols
Court finds no evidence to suggest high school seniors' pentagrams caused disruption.