April Fools? We no longer persecute witches?

We no longer persecute witches!  What practices are done today, that in the future will be viewed as barbaric and arcane?  What are practices targeted toward a certain group that will certainly be viewed as an attempt to control and limit freedom. The majority of witchcraft accusations and persecution were women. What can we learn from that? That’s all well and good, except, I made an assumption witches are no longer persecuted.

Please note, the utterance of “no way” is not a spell that will make this not so. In Tulsa Oklahoma, Blackbear v. Union Public School Independent District No. 9, a student was suspended for casting a spell that made a teacher sick.

The lawsuit, filed on Thursday, alleges that Blackbear was summoned to the office of assistant principal Charlie Bushyheadlast December after a teacher fell ill, and was questioned about her interest in Wicca.

According to the lawsuit, Brandi Blackbear had read alibrary book about Wicca beliefs and, under aggressive interrogation 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 accusing Plaintiff, Brandi Blackbear, of casting spells causing (a teacher at the school) … to be sick and to be hospitalized,”the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit stated that because of the “unknown cause” of the teacher’s illness, Bushyhead advised the 15-year-old girl “that she was an immediate threat to the school and summarily suspended her for what he arbitrarily determined to be a disruption of the education process.”

Student Expelled for Casting a Spell

The witchcraft act of 1603 was used by the British colonizers in the US to persecute witches. As a British colony for over 150 years after this, America followed British laws against witchcraft that included the 1735 witchcraft act. However, I struggled to find what laws were actually used to to persecute witches once the US became independent of Great Britain. Which at this point, I could assume there were no new laws? School expulsion due to alleged witchcraft and violation of law by witchcraft are very different. I do not have the talent or time to turn a blog post into a scholarly article. This is sufficiently muddled.

More recent cases in the United States have put witchcraft under the domain of religious freedom. There are other laws that decree fortune telling is a crime like  in Pennsylvania, yet that has been challenged as a violation of free speech. Romania, South Africa and Saudi Arabia are three countries that currently persecute witches. Maybe, we owe something to first ladies who used the occult. Jane Pierce, Mary Todd Lincoln, Edith Wilson, Florence Harding, and Nancy Reagan all used of psychics and fortune tellers.

But, back to Brandi Blackbear. In 2002 U.S. District Judge Claire Eagan ruled in favor of the school district stating that “Neither of Blackbear’s two suspensions in 1999 violated her constitutional rights…” 

Specifically, two of Blackbear’s classmates had alleged they were “fearful” because she allegedly was claiming to be a witch and to possess the power to harm people by casting spells on them, the order states. …the suspension had nothing to do with religion and everything to do with Blackbear’s “terrorizing” students. She said the whole “religious freedom” allegation appeared to be a ploy to make the lawsuit more exciting to the media. The order states that Blackbear also was suspended in late April 1999 for 19 days for making threats against students.

Brandi Blackbear: Student accused of practicing witchcraft loses lawsuit

Yup, that second part made it more muddled. This story has taken a circuitous route, is it safe to say we no longer persecute witches in the US?  This past week marked the first anniversary of the anti-lynching bill in the US. Yes, it has only been a year into existence. The ERA has still not passed, that is the law guaranteeing equal pay to women. While my initial premise is blown to bits, maybe the real question to consider this week is,  think of three practices you believe no longer exist and then google and see what you find out if you were right, wrong or muddled.

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