An Illinois school district is defending an elementary school offering “After School Satan Club,” an extracurricular instructional program sponsored by the Satanic Temple of the United States.
The program, for youngsters in grades first by fifth, will likely be taught by volunteers at The Jane Addams Elementary School in Moline, and can meet 5 instances this 12 months starting Thursday, flyers circulating on social media declare.
According to the flyer, the membership will encompass science tasks, puzzles, video games, arts and crafts and out of doors nature actions. The membership says it’ll assist kids study benevolence and empathy, essential considering, downside fixing, inventive expression and private sovereignty.
The Satanic Temple – basically an activist group and suppose tank greater than a non secular establishment – stated this system is out there at choose public faculties the place Good News packages exist, and is supposed to be educationally enriching. Members don’t have any intention of changing kids to Satanism.
“Proselytization is not our goal, and we’re not interested in converting children to Satanism,” the temple says about the program on its website. “After School Satan Clubs will deal with free inquiry and rationalism, the scientific foundation for which we all know what we all know in regards to the world round us.
“We prefer to give children an appreciation of the natural wonders surrounding them, not a fear of everlasting other-worldly horrors.”
The flyer prompted a response from district management, who emphatically assured dad and mom that “No teachers from Jane Addams, or any other district teacher, is involved” and “Flyers were not distributed to all students,” according to a letter from Rachel Savage, Moline-Coal Valley Schools Superintendent, to district households.
She stated that the house rental was “not generated by the district and is not affiliated with Jane Addams or the district.”
A district mum or dad had reached out to the Satanic Temple’s after school membership, and informed the group that the elementary school already supplied a “child evangelism fellowship club” and needed to carry their program to the school “to offer parents a choice of different viewpoints,” the superintendent stated.
Thirty flyers had been despatched to the school from the Satanic Temple and had been positioned within the school lobbies, as are all flyers for organizations and occasions at the school which might be “religious in nature.”
She additional famous that the board of training permits group utilization of its services, and approves a number of agreements with native church buildings.
“To illegally deny their organization (viewpoint) to pay to rent our publicly funded institution, after school hours, subjects the district to a discrimination lawsuit, which we will not win, likely taking thousands upon thousands of tax-payer dollars away from our teachers, staff, and classrooms,” Savage wrote.
The Satanic Temple says it views Satan as a “mythical figure representing individual freedom,” in response to its web site.
“Satanists should actively work to hone critical thinking and exercise reasonable agnosticism in all things,” the temple says. “Our beliefs must be malleable to the best current scientific understandings of the material world — never the reverse.”