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Two Witches Ask School Board To Ban ‘Hansel And Gretel’

May 27, 1992 GMT

CONCORD, Calif. (AP) _ Two self-proclaimed witches have asked the schools to ban the story ″Hansel And Gretel″ because it degrades witches and suggests it’s all right to kill them.

″This story teaches that it is all right to burn witches and steal their property,″ said Karlyn Straganana, high priestess of the Oak Haven Coven.

″Witches don’t eat children and we don’t have long noses with warts and we don’t wear conical hats,″ Straganana told the Mount Diablo District School Board on Tuesday.

Ken Stanley-Rogers described himself as a practitioner of Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Wicca, the religion of witches.

The board of the sprawling suburban district in the northeastern San Francisco Bay area did not comment at the meeting. The coven is based in the district.

District officials did not immediately return a telephone call Wednesday from The Associated Press.

The controversy arose after a class of fifth-graders staged a mock trial charging Hansel and Gretel with murder in the death of a witch who took them in after they became lost in the forest.

The student jury found the children innocent because they acted in self- defense. According to the Grimm’s Fairy Tale published in 1812, the witch was fattening Hansel so she could eat him. The brother and sister shoved the witch into her oven.

Carole Larson, a teacher involved in the mock trial, said the enactment was ″based on a story that has been in literature for hundreds of years. It’s almost like you can’t win. It was not our intention to offend anyone.″