- A Pennsylvania parent’s attempt to start an “After School Satan Club” caught fire.
- The Northern York County School District School Board voted 8 to 1 against the club.
- The Satanic Temple says it could use litigation to lobby for the club.
A Pennsylvania parent’s push to start an After School Satan Club at one of the state’s elementary schools caught fire after a school board voted him down 8-1.
Hundreds of people showed up at Tuesday’s meeting to voice their disapproval of the club, according to the York Daily Record.
Only one Northern York County School Board member, Thomas Welch, voted in favor of the club.
A mother named Samantha Groome proposed the club. She said she was looking for a non-religious club for students at Northern Elementary School. Groome told the York Daily Record that she offered the After School Satan Club as a secular alternative to a local Christian club program.
But local parents were largely opposed to the establishment of the club.
“There’s a lot of evil in this world already, so allowing him into our school and our community is not OK,” mother Laura Vangeli said, according to CBS affiliate WHP-TV.
The Satanic Temple claims that After School Satan clubs “promote self-directed education by supporting students’ intellectual and creative interests.” The Temple website also states that the clubs are open to parents, who are welcome to attend.
The Temple also emphasizes that “proselytizing is not our goal, and we are not interested in converting children to Satanism.”
“After School Satan Clubs will focus on free inquiry and rationalism, the scientific basis for which we know what we know about the world around us,” Temple wrote.
The Satanic Temple has its official headquarters in Salem, Massachusetts. There are four After School Satan clubs in the United States, including one in Portland, Oregon, approved in 2016, and another in Moline, Illinois.
Ken Sechrist, the chair of the Northern York County School Board, told Newsweek the board sent a letter to Groome explaining why they rejected his application.
“In short, we open clubs when there is student interest in a particular subject not covered in our curriculum,” Sechrist told the outlet. “In this case, the requesting parent, when given the opportunity to provide evidence of the student’s interest, provided none.”
In response to the school board’s decision, Satanic Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves told the York Daily Record that he thought it was “religious discrimination” for the school to accept only “certain religious voices, but not others”. Greaves added that the Satanic Temple could set up litigation funds to lobby for the club under the First Amendment.