Kansas School Approves ‘Satan Club’ Over Objections of Students, Parents

A petition to stop the club has collected nearly 8,000 signatures.

Olathe Northwest High School in Olathe, Kansas (Google Maps/screenshot)

“High School Satan Club” will now be included among the extracurricular offerings at Olathe Northwest High School in Kansas after the school district gave the greenlight for its creation.

The club’s approval comes amid growing opposition from other students and parents with concerns about kids being encouraged to worship Satan.

A petition to stop the club had garnered more than 7,800 signatures at the time of publishing.

“Recently, I discovered that there are plans to establish a Satan worship/ Satan Templist Club at Olathe Northwest Highschool. This deeply troubles me and many others in our community as we believe that schools should be places of education and growth, not platforms for satanic indoctrination or controversial practices,” Olathe Northwest student Drew McDonald wrote in creating the petition.

“We urge the relevant authorities in Olathe, KS – school administrators, district officials, and local representatives—to reconsider this decision. We believe it is not in the best interest of our children or community.”

Some signers pointed to their Christian beliefs as their reason for opposing the club, while others cited general moral concerns. Still, some acknowledged that the club’s existence was likely protected by the First Amendment.

“Seems we lost this round and I don’t agree with it, but consider this: It’s within their First Amendment rights in our own Constitution for them to assemble,” local parent Gregory Austin wrote. “Other school districts have lost this battle in court. I think it’s better to have ‘no’ religious groups on school property than this.”

Erin Schulte, assistant director of communications for Olathe Public Schools, told The Epoch Times that the school district approved the club after finding the applicants had met all necessary criteria, including the support of 10 interested students. Applicants were also required to explain how the group would differ from existing clubs and what it would bring to the school.

Ms. Schulte also pointed to the federal Equal Access Act as justification for the school district’s decision. The law prohibits schools from denying students equal access to extracurricular groups based on religious, political, philosophical, or other speech. Under its provisions, if a school allows one non-academic group to meet on school premises outside of school hours, it is required to allow other, similar groups.

Olathe Northwest High School already has a Christian club, AWAKE, that meets after school.

“There are a wide variety of different extra-curricular clubs at the secondary level that are centered around religions, philosophies, politics and values,” Ms. Schulte said. “These clubs are voluntarily attended by students and occur outside of the regular school day. As a school district, Olathe Public Schools follows both state and federal laws related to student groups.”

~ Satanism on the Rise? ~

The new Satan Club joins a list of other after-school Satan clubs (ASSC) that have cropped up in public schools around the country in recent years as part of a push by The Satanic Temple.

Last month, Pennsylvania’s Saucon Valley School District settled a lawsuit filed by The Satanic Temple over its decision to revoke approval of an ASSC at Saucon Valley Middle School in Hellertown after the club’s previous approval had sparked controversy.

Meanwhile, the Memphis Shelby County School District recently approved the creation of another ASSC at Chimneyrock Elementary School in Cordova, Tennessee. The program is set to begin on Jan. 10 and run through the spring semester.

The Satanic Temple, which claims to be a non-theistic religion, celebrated the Kansas club’s approval in a Dec. 26 Facebook post.

“The first ASSC-affiliated High School Satan Club will debut in Kansas next month! This student-led club has completed all the required steps to be an officially registered on-campus student club and will operate alongside other student-led religious clubs. The debut of the ASSC-affiliated High School Satan Club will mark the beginning of what’s sure to be an exciting year for our After School Satan Club campaign!”

According to The Satanic Temple’s website, its affiliated clubs provide “a space for children to explore their interests and develop their creativity, free from threats of eternal damnation.”

The group claims to have no interest in converting children to Satanism but instead opts to focus its clubs’ activities on “free inquiry and rationalism.”

But critics, like Pacific Justice Institute attorney Emily Mimnaugh, say those claims are deceptive.

“One of the messages from the promoters of these clubs is that ‘we are not actually promoting Satanism, we are here to encourage religious liberty, freedom of thought,’” Ms. Mimnaugh noted in a Zoom meeting earlier this year.

“And you know, in my opinion, that’s like Chairman Mao saying he’s founding a communist club not to promote communism but to explore different theories of economics. Right. It’s absolute nonsense, and you need to be aware of it.”

Written by Samantha Flom for The Epoch Times ~ December 28, 2023

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