Teachers cancel 'witches brew'

September 12, 1997


Staff Writer

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - "Witches Brew," a play starring third graders at Summitview Elementary School, has been dropped by the teachers who were putting it on because a school parent doesn't think it is appropriate, Schools Superintendent Robert Mesaros said Friday.

Mesaros and James Hasson, acting principal of Summitview, said the teachers were not ordered to cancel the play. The teachers decided to drop the play on their own "because they didn't want a side show," Hasson said.

Mesaros said he believes the play is appropriate for third graders.

The play was to be shown at the end of October.

Hasson identified the complaining parent as Charles Koontz of Waynesboro. Koontz could not be reached for comment.

Koontz, in a letter to the editor in a Waynesboro newspaper this week, said the play is about children seeking a witch so they can make and drink a witch's brew. Bats ghosts and superstition aid in the search, he wrote.


Koontz wrote that "no school in this area would even think of producing a Christmas play about children seeking the Christ child, but sugar-coated Satanism seems acceptable."

"If the play ran it would take away from the joy of the students in it," Mesaros said. "It would be a loss to the students because there was an implication that something was wrong. It's neat because all students in the class get to have a part. It's part of learning. It teaches them communication skills and to use their imaginations. It's part of our cultural heritage."

He said the play has been performed in local schools before.

One class of third graders was supposed to play bats in the play. Another was to play ghosts and all were to drop an ingredient into the brew, which in reality was to end up as apple cider.

Hasson said the teachers will try to come up with a new play that will coincide with the fall season.

"They just want to move forward in a positive direction. Their goal is to get the students involved," he said.

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