SEATTLE, Wash. – An attorney is advising an elementary school in Washington to approve an “After School Satan” club, warning that the school district may incur expensive litigation if they turn down the Satanic group.
The Satanic Temple of Seattle recently approached the Mount Vernon School District, asking if the group could start an after-school Satanic program at Centennial Elementary School. According to reports, the Satanic group is bothered by the elementary school’s Good News Bible Club and desires to counter the Bible club with a Satan club.
“It’s designed to be a counterpoint to the Good News program,” Tarkus Claypool of the Satanic Temple of Seattle told the “Skagit Valley Herald.”
Citing a 1991 Supreme Court ruling that says if public schools allow any organization to use school property, they must open their doors to all organizations, the Seattle Satanists argue that the school board has no right to turn them down.
After receiving the Satanists’ request, the Mount Vernon School District hired attorney Duncan Fobes to give them legal counsel on the matter. On Wednesday, Fobes presented his suggestion to the school board: accept the Satanic group.
“I think that if the school district denied that application, you would face costly litigation that would be distracting from your mission and would ultimately be unsuccessful,” Fobes reportedly said.
“We believe that it’s clear that, because the district has a policy and procedure that encourages the use of community groups to use your facilities, because you do that, you must open it to this group,” Fobes added. “You don’t have to sponsor the group, you don’t have to help the group.”
The Satanic Temple, which according to its website only views Satan as a metaphor “symbolic of the eternal rebel” and does not hold to a belief in the supernatural, is reportedly targeting school districts across the country that allow the Good News Clubs. As previously reported, Satanists released a promotional video earlier this year, in which they announced plans to spawn Satan clubs in schools nationwide.
In the Seattle area, school officials and parents alike have voiced concerns over this development.
“We didn’t invite them to the school, they put our name on a website,” said Centennial Elementary School Principal Erwin Stroosma. “We feel like we’re pawns in a game—someone else is manipulating us.”
The school board president, Rob Coffey, described the situation as “very unfortunate.”
“Our hands are tied in this question,” he 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.”
When asked about the Satanic club during a recent meeting, nearly all parents and grandparents of students at Centennial Elementary School indicated that they do not want the group to meet in their children’s school.
“They say they’re not going to teach anything bad, but we don’t know,” said Moises Pacheco, whose grandchildren attend an elementary school in the district.
“This is going to be infectious and widespread,” said Mike Cheek, who also has grandchildren in the district. “I know that if there is anything to do with Satan, it is dark and it is evil.”