According to an attorney representing the Mount Vernon School District in the state of Washington, the so-called “After-School Satan” club proposed by the Satanic Temple of Seattle to be held at Centennial Elementary School should be allowed to go forward.
“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.” said Duncan Fobes during a Wednesday meeting of the Mount Vernon School Board.
Fobes was hired to assess whether or not the district had any legal standing to prevent the Temple from bringing in the program.
“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 said. “You don’t have to sponsor the group, you don’t have to help the group.”
According to the Skagit Valley Herald, a 2001 Supreme Court ruling stated that if schools allow any organization to use school property, they must allow all organizations — religious and secular — to have access.
The Mount Vernon district, along with nine others, was chosen by the Satanic Temple to host a pilot After School Satan Club program because the districts also host a Good News Bible Club, which is run by the Child Evangelism Fellowship.
“We didn’t invite them to the school, they put our name on a website,” Centennial Principal Erwin Stroosma said. “We feel like we’re pawns in a game — someone else is manipulating us.”
The Satanic Temple applied to rent space at Centennial Elementary for about an hour after school one day a month during the school year.
According to the Temple, they don’t worship any deity and they use Satan “as a metaphor for fighting religious tyranny and oppression.”
“I think the reason [the Temple] is here is because they wanted a reaction,” parent Melissa McPhaden said. “And they got the reaction. I don’t think they want to start a Satanic club in Mount Vernon.”