Principal Fired for Staff Santeria Rites

Candles, incense and chicken blood didn't earn A's from bosses
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Aug 8, 2007 9:30 AM CDT
Principal Fired for Staff Santeria Rites
Maritza Tamayo, principal of the Unity Center for Urban Technologies (seen above), coerced her staff into helping prepare and fund an elaborate Santeria ritual to cleanse the school.   (

(Newser) – A New York City public school principal's head is on the chopping block for forcing teachers to participate in spiritual cleansing rituals using chicken blood and incense, the AP reports. The principal paid another woman to perform several ceremonies practiced by followers of  Santeria, a Caribbean blend of  Christianity and African traditions. Students weren't in school at the time.

One ritual intended to eradicate negative energy at the Manhattan high school involved a woman in white balancing a silver tray of 40 burning candles on her head, according to a witness. A special investigations commissioner said the Santeria rituals themselves were not the problem; the firing offense was coercing the staff to participate. (Read more New York City stories.)

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