A proposed “After School Satan Club” was overwhelmingly rejected by a Pennsylvania school district Tuesday following a board of education meeting attended by hundreds of concerned citizens.
The Northern York County School Board voted 8-1 to deny the club at Northern Elementary School in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania. The club also had been denied by the principal earlier. But four such After School Satan Clubs are already in operation in the United States, catering to children as young as 5.
The proposed Northern Elementary club was requested by a parent, although an overwhelming majority of parents were repulsed by the idea.
“I never thought anything like this would come to the district. … I don’t want my son to be exposed to anything of the sort,” district parent Amy Wintermyer said in an interview with the area’s Fox 43 station.
The parent advocating for the club, Samantha Groome, listed the seven tenets of the Satanic Temple – innocent-sounding principles using such words as “compassion,” “empathy” and “nobility” – and asked what was objectionable about them, notwithstanding the name “Satan.”
The Salem, Massachusetts-based Satanic Temple that oversees the clubs claims they offer science and crafts projects, puzzles and games, and that club members learn “benevolence, empathy, critical thinking, problem-solving and creative expression.”
Lucien Greaves, co-founder and spokesperson for the Satanic Temple, says a lawsuit is likely over the club’s denial by Northern York County schools, “costly litigation that the community is going to have to pay for.”
The Satanic Temple’s after-school clubs are intended to counter Christian after-school “Good News Clubs” in public schools.
An After School Satan Club established at Jane Addams Elementary School in Moline, Illinois, held its first meeting in January. Parents from the community protested outside during that meeting. School leadership reluctantly allowed the group to proceed, fearing legal repercussions.
The school superintendent in Moline stressed that “facility rental for this after-school activity was not generated by the district and is not affiliated with Jane Addams or the district. It is nothing that involves or impacts the school day.”
Patti Garibay, founder and executive director of American Heritage Girls, a Christian group similar to Girl Scouts, told Fox News in an email, “At a time when youth are experiencing a mental health pandemic, it is outrageous that a school district would allow a club based on the master of confusion.”
Though it is clear Jane Addams Elementary school was reluctant to allow the group to proceed, the decision stands in stark contrast with the swift action of Northern Elementary.
“There is a lot of evil already in this world, so to allow it to come into our school and our community is not OK,” said Northern parent Laura Vangeli.
Though the group “does not worship Satan,” a Temple spokesperson said, “They’re just going to know that this is taught by Satanists.”