An Illinois school district is defending its decision to allow an “After School Satan Club” to be held at Jane Addams Elementary School.
Moline-Coal Valley School District released a statement after elementary school children were invited to join an after-school program sponsored by the Satanic Temple. The district confirmed that the decision was approved by the district’s Board of Education.
“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 said in a statement.
The district stated that it “does not discriminate” and allows all organizations to rent out its facilities for a fee, comparing the “After School Satan Club” to the Good News Club, an after-school evangelism program for kids.
“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,” the district continued.
A copy of the flyer has been made available to students and parents in the lobby of elementary schools, though the district claims that it does not widely distribute them.
According to the flyer, the club will meet on Jan. 13, Feb. 10, March 10, April 14, and May 12 at Jane Addams Elementary. The flyer states that the program is taught by “volunteer teachers who have passed criminal background checks.”
The program is aimed at first through fifth-grade students and requires signed permission from parents.
The “After School Satan Club” program began in 2016 in opposition to religious clubs. The Satanic Temple’s founder vowed to specifically target elementary schools and has petitioned to start clubs in schools across the nation.
Supporters of the program argue that excluding the program from public schools is a violation of free-speech rights.