“After School Satan Club” Creates Uproar in Kern County
An elementary school in Kern County’s Tehachapi Unified School District has approved an “After School Satan Club,” sponsored by the Satanic Temple and the religious freedom organization Reason Alliance.
TUSD Superintendent Stacey Larson-Everson notified parents of Golden Hills Elementary’s new club on Nov. 15. The group has been approved to hold meetings after school in the cafeteria. According to its mission statement, the club is “designed to promote intellectual and emotional development.”
The news has upset a number of local parents. Angry comments forced a shutdown of the Tehachapi Raves and Rants Facebook group.
But as Larson-Everson explained, the district cannot discriminate among groups wishing to use TUSD facilities. The district already allows Christian programs like The Good News Club, so it must treat the After School Satan Club equally.
Paul Hicks, the club leader, wants parents to know there will be no devil worship at the club. The Satanic Temple differs from the Church of Satan and does not worship dieties in any form.
“I’m not teaching these kids to be Satanic,” Hicks told KABK. “I’m not teaching these kids that they need to hail Satan or identify as Satanists. What we’re doing is we’re thinking critical thinking, we’re teaching science, we’re teaching empathy and benevolence.”
The Satanic Temple’s main tenets include compassion, empathy, advocating for justice over institutions, respect for freedom and bodily autonomy, and a belief in scientific facts.