Soho School Principal: I Don’t Practice Santeria

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A Soho principal paid a Santeria priestess to ward off “negative energy” at the public school. And investigators say she used school funds for part of the tab. Maritza Tamayo, the principal, claims it’s all a misunderstanding and that what appeared to be a voodoo doll was just a design project leftover from her predecessor.

Santeria, an Afro-Caribbean derived religion that involves practical magic, including animal sacrifice rituals, is most commonly found, but is not limited to areas with large Latin American populations.

According to investigators from Special Commissioner of Investigation’s office, Tamayo, principal of Unity Center for Urban Technologies, a low-performing public school, forced her assistant principal to pay the priestess $950 for spirit chasing rituals that included dripping chicken blood on the floors and going through the halls with lit candles.  They also say she paid $350 to have the priestess, a neighbor, drive kids to their Regents exams. The money for the ride came from school funds and teacher contributions. Education officials want the 17-year veteran to pull a vanishing act. Permanently.

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