O K L A H O M A C I T Y, Oct. 28, 2000 -- An Oklahoma high school suspended a
15-year-old student after accusing her of casting a magic spell
that caused a teacher to become sick, lawyers for the student
said on Friday.
The American Civil Liberties Union said it had filed alawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on behalfof student Brandi Blackbear, charging that the assistantprincipal of Union Intermediate High School in Broken Arrow,Oklahoma, suspended her for 15 days last December for supposedlycasting a spell.
The suit also charged the Tulsa-area Union Public Schoolswith repeatedly violating Blackbear’s civil rights by seizingnotebooks she used to write horror stories and barring her fromdrawing or wearing signs of the pagan religion Wicca.
“It’s hard for me to believe that in the year 2000 I amwalking into court to defend my daughter against charges ofwitchcraft brought by her own school,” said Timothy Blackbear,Brandi’s father.
Joann Bell, executive director of the ACLU’s Oklahomachapter, said the “outlandish accusations” had made Blackbear’slife at school unbearable.
“I, for one, would like to see the so-called evidence thisschool has that a 15-year-old girl made a grown man sick bycasting a magic spell,” Bell said.
A lawyer for the school district declined to comment.
The lawsuit, filed on Thursday, alleges that Blackbear wassummoned to the office of assistant principal Charlie Bushyheadlast December after a teacher fell ill, and was questioned abouther interest in Wicca.
According to the lawsuit, Brandi Blackbear had read alibrary book about Wicca beliefs and, under aggressiveinterrogation by Bushyhead, said she might be a Wiccan. In fact,Blackbear is a Roman Catholic, according to the newspaper TulsaWorld.
“The interview culminated with Defendant Bushyhead accusingPlaintiff, Brandi Blackbear, of casting spells causing (ateacher at the school) ... to be sick and to be hospitalized,”the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit stated that because of the “unknown cause” ofthe teacher’s illness, Bushyhead advised the 15-year-old girl“that she was an immediate threat to the school and summarilysuspended her for what he arbitrarily determined to be adisruption of the education process.”