- An “After-School Satan Club” in Virginia has parents upset, claiming there will be “devil worshipping in school.”
- The club’s director said the club intends to support free thought, critical thinking, and problem-solving in kids.
- The school district is required to permit the club under the First Amendment, a lawyer told WTKR.
Some Virginia school parents are distraught over an after-school “Satan Club” that they claim will promote “devil worship” to their children. The club said it intends to encourage free thinking.
The “After-School Satan Club” is scheduled to have its first meeting in mid-December at B.M. Williams Primary School in Chesapeake. One mother, Melanie Ballard, told WTKR that she believes the club will negatively influence her son.
“But now, it’s okay to have devil worshipping in school around impressionable minds and age,” Ballard told the outlet. “Now, I’m being concerned about the welfare of my child and other classmates of his that are maybe exposed to this satanic group.”
A flyer for the club identifies the Satanic Temple as a “non-theistic religion that views Satan as a literary figure who represents a metaphorical construct of rejecting tyranny and championing the human mind and spirit.”
“After School Satan Club does not attempt to convert children to any religious ideology. Instead, The Satanic Temple supports children to think for themselves,” the ASSC club flyer said, advertising critical thinking and problem-solving crafts and games.
June Everett, the club’s campaign director, told WTKR that “Satan was the first to start asking questions and was cast out of heaven for that reason.” The story influences the group’s name, she said.
“If we were to name it something like the ‘Fluffy Bunnies’ or ‘Rainbow Club’ and people were to find out it was run by the Satanic Temple, that would be worst,” Everett told the outlet. “We do get a lot of people who say, ‘Why don’t you call it the afterschool science club or afterschool critical thinking club?’ We could do that, but then when people find out it’s run by the Satanic Temple and that Satanists are the ones running the club, we feel that will create more of a problem.”
Despite complaints from some parents, the club is protected by the freedom of religion in the First Amendment, law professor Jack Preis told WTKR. A statement from Chesapeake Public Schools on Friday said that ACCS is not a district-sponsored club, but that “by law, CPS cannot discriminate based on beliefs among groups wishing to rent our facilities,” per WTKR.
The district did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.