« July 2007 | Main | September 2007 »

August 7, 2007

Spring cleaning

I wonder if the U of M is doing this now that I've left.

A principal at a high school in Lower Manhattan had heard the jokes about using a “sage,� or spiritual guru, to perform a “cleansing� of the building to counteract misbehaving students. ...

One day last winter, the principal, Martiza Tamayo, told an assistant principal, Melody Crooks-Simpson, that she had a friend who could do just that. Ms. Tamayo promised that the friend “could burn sage and incense in the school and it would calm the students down,� according to the report. (Santeria is an Afro-Caribbean syncretic religion, some of whose adherents believe in trances, animal sacrifice and sacred drumming and dance.)

A few weeks later, Ms. Tamayo told Ms. Crooks-Simpson that during the February break, her friend would be coming to perform a Santeria ceremony that would involve sprinkling chicken blood on the building. ... “Wear white,� Ms. Crooks-Simpson said she remembered Ms. Tamayo instructing her. “If there’s anything evil, it won’t get on you.� ...

She arrived to find Ms. Tamayo’s friend, Gilda Fonte, in a conference room near the principal’s office. She displayed a few tarot cards and took a couple of puffs from a cigar before putting it down on the table. She asked Ms. Csooks-Simpson [sic] to shuffle the cards and mumbled some words. The ceremony lasted about a half-hour.

If they hadn't paid the, um, fumigation specialist with school funds (laundered through a part-time staff member for an unrelated shuttle service), we might never have found out. One can only wonder what goes on in parts of the country where exorcists are even more plentiful and work pro bono.