Pagan Student Ordered to Cover Pentagram At School

March 15, 2000

Source: South Bend Tribune

On March 15, 2000 the South Bend Tribune reported that "freshman Irma Patton was sent home Friday from Clark High School [in Hammond, Indiana] for repeatedly refusing to remove or place tape over her pentagram ring and button. School officials insist that pentagrams are gang symbols... worn by members of Chicago's Latin Kings gang... Irma Patton insists she does not belong to a gang. She and her mother, Wanda Patton, are both followers of Wicca - a pagan nature religion... 'They're violating our rights for what we are,' Wanda Patton said. 'Everyone has the right to choose their own religion'... The Assistant Principal responded by saying, 'The pentagram is a symbol associated with gangs as part of an identification process. He said he did not want to issue a double standard when it came to the pentagram." In defense of the pentagrams, Wanda Patton claims other non-gang groups wear symbols similar to Pentagrams, "police badges are five-pointed star... 'Are we going to get them to quit wearing them?' she said."