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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 March 2007, 15:39 GMT
White witch 'sacked due to faith'
A white witch claiming unfair dismissal from a school has denied telling pupils she could teach them spells.

An employment tribunal is hearing the case of Sommer De La Rosa, 34, of Moyne Close, Hove, East Sussex.

She was sacked as a teaching assistant from the Dorothy Stringer School, Brighton, and claims it was a result of prejudice against her Wicca faith.

The school and Brighton & Hove council said it was due to poor attendance and inappropriate disclosures to pupils.

Ms De La Rosa worked in the school's religious studies and music departments for eight months until May last year.

Saying, 'I can train you to put spells' is a problem
Mick Hickman, former head of religious studies

She told the tribunal on Thursday that she got into a conversation about her faith when a pupil asked if a pentagram 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."

Religious symbols

Mick Hickman, Dorothy Stringer's former head of religious studies, said he had heard a different version of events.

"The pupil had said she said, 'I can help you put a spell on people'.

"She had said, 'If you want to find out further you can go on the internet'.

"Saying, 'I can train you to put spells' is a problem."

Mr Hickman also denied banning Ms De La Rosa from wearing her pentagram, but he did tell the tribunal that he felt religious symbols were better hidden from view when teaching.

Responding to questions about whether Ms De La Rosa being a white witch was a problem to him, he said: "Her being a Wiccan was neither here nor there."

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