(WKBN) – School officials and parents are trying to figure out how to deal with what are being called “Satan Clubs” cropping up in schools, specifically in Ohio and Illinois.
Recently, a grade school in Lebanon that historically made space available at the school for an after-school Christian program called “Good News” has recently provided space to a club calling itself The Satanic Temple After-School Satan Club.
According to a Jan. 20 message on the Lebanon City Schools website, Superintendent Isaac Seevers said an outside group has advertised for an after-school facility rental at the school.
“The Satanic Temple After-School Satan Club is NOT a district or school-sponsored event. Lebanon City Schools do not endorse the activities or intent of this group or any other religiously affiliated groups offering after-school activities on our campuses. Lebanon City School District’s focus remains on student safety and student achievement. The District has no other involvement in this program except for the approval of the rental of the space,” Seevers wrote.
Seevers said a local resident contacted The Satanic Temple and requested they start a chapter in Lebanon and to start the after-school club.
“They completed the required application, the facility use agreement, and provided the necessary documentation, and were approved,” Seevers wrote. “The district does not and is not legally allowed to discriminate against any groups who wish to rent our facilities, including religiously-affiliated groups.”
Flyers for the Satan Club included activities such as puzzles, games, art, nature activities and crafts.
According to The Satanic Temple website, the mission of the group is to “encourage benevolence, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense, oppose injustice, and undertake mobile pursuits.”
We have publicly confronted hate groups, fought for the abolition of corporal punishment in public schools, applied for equal representation when religious installations are placed on public property, provided religious exemption and legal protection against laws that unscientifically restrict women’s reproductive autonomy, exposed harmful pseudo-scientific practitioners in mental health care, organized clubs alongside other religious after-school clubs in schools besieged by proselytizing organizations, and engaged in other advocacy in accordance with our tenets.The Stantic Temple
After schools programs have cropped up in Illinois, too. There, many parents are also upset about the group. Moline-Coal Valley School District spokeswoman Candace Sountris said that there is concern and confusion over this upcoming after-school club at Jane Addams Elementary.
“The Moline-Coal Valley School District and Board of Education have policies and administrative procedures in place which allow for community use of its publicly funded facilities outside the school day,” the district statement said Tuesday, noting it doesn’t discriminate against any groups who wish to rent public facilities, including religious-affiliated groups,” she said.
The Satanic Temple is based in the United States with chapters across the U.S., including Ohio.