The Mount Vernon school district is one of nine schools around the country that has been “chosen” by the Satanic Temple to start an “After School Satan Club”, and an attorney says there’s not a thing they can do to stop it.
The school doesn’t want it, the parents don’t want it, but attorney Duncan Fobes says if the school allows any community group to use their facilities, they must open it to all groups – including the Satanic Temple. The Satanic Temple targeted schools who also host a Good News Bible Club, run by the Child Evangelism Fellowship.
The school district’s risk-pool insurance group hired Fobes to find out if the school had any legal path to deny the Satanic Temple’s application, which is requesting to rent space at the school for a one-hour after school program once a month.
“We didn’t invite them to the school, they put our name on a website,” Centennial Principal Erwin Stroosma said. “We feel like we’re pawns in a game — someone else is manipulating us.”
At a school board meeting on the issue, nearly every parent and community member raised their hand when asked if they do NOT want the Satan Club at the school, reported Skagit Valley Herald.
“They say they’re not going to teach anything bad, but we don’t know,” Moises Pacheco, whose grandchildren attend Madison Elementary, said through a translator.
Another grandparent of students in the district, Mike Cheek, said, “This is going to be infectious and widespread. I know that if there is anything to do with Satan, it is dark and it is evil.”
One parent wasn’t that worried. “It feels like we’re all reacting with fear,” said Melissa McPhaden. “I’m not afraid of what this church can do, because I have a relationship with my children.”
Fobes told them the school district does have a right to review the proposed “curriculum” for the Satan Club, but as long as it does not use hate speech, incite violence or include pornography, they can’t stop it.
The attorney, who was supposed to be on the side of the school, claimed that it wasn’t really anything that bad. “What this group purports is they support rational thinking activities,” Fobes said. “I don’t know what they actually do because no one’s done it yet. This is a pretty new undertaking by this group.”
Fobes also warned that even if the school banned all after-school groups as a way to keep the Satan club out, that could still open themselves up for lawsuits. “I think it’s not an option here,” Fobes said. “I believe in this particular case you would still face some litigation, not only from the Satanic Temple, but also from the Good News club.”
He also reminded them of the revenue they would lose out on by not renting out their facilities.
The school board president seemed resigned to their fate. “Very unfortunately, our hands are tied in this question,” Board President Rob Coffey said. “We must make our facilities available — and in many cases we are eager to make them available — to Boys & Girls Clubs, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts. We must make them available whether we like the group or not. There really is no opportunity for us to say no to the Satanic Temple or the After School Satan Club.”
The Satanic Temple had previously stated that it’s not actually worshipping Satan, but just using Satan “as a metaphor for fighting religious tyranny and oppression.”
The superintendent, Carl Bruner, said he’s still going to talk to Fobes about the matter again.
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