This Conservative Community Did Not See Witchcraft as Fun and Games
Ann Stewart didn’t think much of the kids’ whispers that their English teacher was a spooky witch, and dismissed it as all in good fun. Unfortunately, Flowing Wells was a particularly conservative community. Many students, their parents, and faculty members at the high school did not get the joke. On November 27th, 1970, Stewart was suspended for: “teaching about witchcraft, having stated that you are a witch in a way that affects students psychologically“. She was also alleged to have been insubordinate, discussed subjects beyond the curriculum, been a bad influence on students, and aggravated other teachers.
The suspension of an American teacher in 1970 for witchcraft became international news. In conservative Flowing Wells, Stewart became a pariah, shunned by neighbors and former friends. She appealed to the school board, but it confirmed the decision to fire her. So she sued in court, and there won on grounds that the board had violated the legal procedures for dismissing a tenured teacher like Stewart. The court ordered her reinstatement, but as of February, 1972, she had not returned to her job, and it is unclear if she ever taught at Flowing Wells again.
Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading