How An After School Satan Club At A Quad Cities Elementary School Is Legal
On Tuesday, social media was being flooded with a photo of a flyer about an after-school 'Satan Club' coming to Quad Cities . Parents and community members had many mixed reactions, most not understanding how a club like this is legal in a public school. The school district has released a statement explaining how a club like this is allowed in schools.
On Tuesday, January 11th, a flyer went viral in the Quad Cities which showed a new after-school club coming to Jane Addams Elementary School in Moline. It's called the After School Satan Club and it has parents at Jane Addams and in the Moline-Coal Valley School District upset, concerned, and confused.
Parents and community members on social media were wondering "How is this legal?" and "how is this okay?". The Moline-Valley School District released a statement Tuesday afternoon to try and clarify to concerned and confused parents about the "upcoming after-school club at Jane Addams elementary."
The Moline-Coal Valley School District said in their statement Tuesday afternoon,
"The Moline-Coal Valley School District and Board of Education have policies and administrative procedures in place, which allow for community use of its publicly funded facilities outside the school day. The district does not discriminate against any groups who wish to rent our facilities, including religious-affiliated groups."
In 2019, The Satanic Temple, which operates the After School Satan Club, acquired tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). They are classified as a church or a convention or association of churches.
The school district continued with their statement saying,
"Religiously affiliated groups are among those allowed to rent our facilities for a fee. The district has, in the past, approved these types of groups, one example being the Good News Club, which is an after-school child evangelism fellowship group. Flyers and promotional materials for these types of groups are approved for lobby posting or display only, and not for mass distribution. Students or parents are then able to pick up the flyer from the lobby, if they so choose, which is aligned to District policy."
Going back to how this is legal in public schools. According to The Satanic Temple website,
"The Supreme Court ruled in 2001 in the case of Good News Club v. Milford Central School that schools operate a “limited public forum” and that, as such, they may not discriminate against religious speech should a religious organization choose to operate an After School Club on their premises."
The Good News Club is a weekly interdenominational Christian program for children from 5 to 12 years of age and features Bible lessons, songs, memory verses, and games. They meet weekly in schools, community centers, churches, and neighborhood homes.
The first meeting of the After School Satan Club at Jane Addams Elementary in Moline is scheduled for Thursday, January 13, 2022. Four more meetings are scheduled after that including February 10th, March 10th, April 14th, and May 12th. Meeting times for the five meetings are scheduled for 2:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m at the Modular Music Trailer.
The Satanic Temple website says,
"The After School Satan Club meets at select public schools where Good News Club also operates. Trained educators provide activities and learning opportunities, which students are free to engage in, or they may opt to explore other interests that may be aided by available resources. The environment is open and parents are welcome to participate. While the classes are designed to promote intellectual and emotional development in accordance with TST's tenets, no proselytization or religious instruction takes place."
The flyer shown above says that students will learn the following:
- Benevolence and empathy
- Critical Thinking
- Problem Solving
- Creative Expression
- Personal Sovereignty
The After School Satan Club will also include science projects, puzzles and games, arts and crafts projects, and nature activities.
Officials from the Moline-Coal Valley School District wanted people to note that the district must provide equal access to all groups. Students need parental permission to attend any after-school event.
The school district finished their statement by saying,
"Our focus remains on student safety and student achievement."