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Petitioning Muskogee OK Board of Education

Remove the ban of 'occult' items from the county's public school handbook.

My name is Ashley Willis and I am a 25 year old mother of 4. It's the second day of school and I am carefully reviewing the school's handbook with my stepdaughter. Upon reviewing the dress code section of the handbook, I read the expected rules; keep your body covered, shoes shall be worn at all times, ect. However, I was appalled when I came across the following statement: "Clothing which advertises alcohol, drugs, tobacco, or the occult/gangs is not permitted". I agree that drugs, alcohol and gangs have no place in our schools but am completely mystified as to the reason why the occult is grouped with these things in the handbook.

The word occult is greatly misunderstood so I can understand the confusion but we live in a culturally integrated and seemingly tolerant society. Misconceptions about the occult should have died with the culmination Salem witch trials. In fact, occult simply means "Of, involving, or relating to supernatural, mystical, or magical powers or phenomena." As a practicing Pagan, my stepdaughter, husband and I all wear a Pentacle (five point star [point up] surrounded by a circle). The symbol is greatly misunderstood but is meant to symbolized the five elements (Fire, Water, Air, Earth and Spirit). The circle is symbolism for the interconnectedness of the living world and the symbol is used as a symbol of faith (for my family). Consequently, this symbol is also used in Wiccan magical practice. Therefore, the wearing of my family's symbol of faith would be a contradiction to the school's handbook. We work very hard to teach our children to respect authority and be tolerant of opinions and so an act of rebellion against the handbook would be counterproductive to our mission as parents.

The handbook commits to religious tolerance, if the individual religion includes wearing head wear. I would like to see 10,000+ signatures to get the rule removed. Let's stop the association of the occult with gangs and spread a little bit of religious tolerance.

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  • Muskogee OK Board of Education

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