A Pennsylvania school district has settled a lawsuit with The Satanic Temple, following allegations of discrimination against the After School Satan club.
The American Civil Liberties Union revealed Thursday that the Saucon Valley School District (SVSD) agreed to pay $200,000 in attorney’s fees and grant The Satanic Temple and its sponsored club access to school facilities.
The lawsuit, filed by the ACLU in March, was prompted by the district’s decision to deny the After School Satan Club permission to meet on school grounds.
According to SVSD attorney Mark Fitzgerald, the district denies any discrimination against The Satanic Temple, its affiliated club, or the handful of students attending its meetings.
“By enforcing its policies regarding the use of facilities, the district maintained a safe educational environment for its students in the face of credible threats of violence that had already caused closure of the schools and panic in the community,” Fitzgerald said, reported local media.
But a U.S. District Court judge ruled that “although The Satanic Temple, Inc.’s objectors may challenge the sanctity of this controversially named organization, the sanctity of the First Amendment’s protections must prevail.”
Despite The Satanic Temple being protected by religious freedom, it claims to not believe or teach religion.
It’s official website states, “The After School Satan Club does not believe in introducing religion into public schools and will only open a club if other religious groups are operating on campus.
A video produced by The Satanic Temple even claims Satan is an “imaginary friend who can teach us how to live.”
“Satan is not an evil guy,” the video claims. “He wants you to learn and question why. He wants you to have fun and be yourself. And by the way, there is no hell. Science is important, so we understand the world. Satan looks for truth. Let’s help him, boys and girls.
“When all is said and done Satan doesn’t actually exist. He’s an imaginary friend who can teach us how to live,” the video continues.
June Everett, director of the After School Satan Club program, expressed satisfaction with the settlement.
“Thanks to the court’s order, we were able to hold ASSC meetings at the Saucon Valley Middle School, and the kids who attended were overjoyed,” Everett said.
The controversial clubs have been popping up in dozens of school districts across the country, leading to protests from parents and community members.
“The decision to promote the Satanic Temple in schools is a concerning development in districts across the country,” Delano Squires, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family. “This group has no more ‘right’ to students and schools as a Neo-Nazi club demanding representation. Schools should use wisdom and discernment with regard to decisions related to extracurricular activities.”