Pagan teaching assistant brings tribunal claim for unfair dismissal

A former teaching assistant who says she is a white witch has denied telling pupils she could teach them spells.

Sommer De La Rosa, who is claiming unfair dismissal against the Dorothy Stringer School in Brighton, told an employment tribunal that she was sacked for belonging to the Wicca faith.

De La Rosa said she was ordered not to wear the pentagram, a religious symbol, and judged for her pagan faith.

But the school and Brighton & Hove Council said it was due to poor attendance and inappropriate disclosures to pupils.

De La Rosa, who worked in the school’s religious studies and music departments for eight months until last May, said she was asked by a pupil whether the religious symbol she wore was a Star of David and whether she was Jewish.

She said: “I told him it was a pentagram and that I am Wiccan. When the pupil asked what this meant, I told him that I am a white witch [and] if he wanted more information he should look on the internet.”

But Mick Hickman, the school’s former head of religious studies, said he had heard a different version of events and that De La Rosa had told pupils she could help them put spells on people. “The pupil had said she said: ‘I can help you put a spell on people’,” he said.

Hickman also denied banning De La Rosa from wearing her pentagram. He said: “Her being a Wiccan was neither here nor there.”

The tribunal continues.

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