According to a report by WTKR, parents of students at Chesapeake Public Schools in Virginia are expressing concerns about an upcoming after-school program called the “After-School Satan Club (ASSC).” The program is scheduled to hold its first session in a few weeks at an elementary school in the district.
Parents Express Worry
One parent expressed her worry about the program’s influence on young and impressionable minds, stating, “But now, it’s okay to have devil-worshiping in school around impressionable minds and age.”
Ballard believes that children observe and emulate the behavior they witness from adults.
They Say It’s to Promote Rational Debates
The campaign director of the ASSC clarified that the club has no affiliation with the supernatural and is solely focused on promoting evidence-based discussions and rational debates.
The First to Start Asking Questions
June Everett, the club’s director, explained, “We do not believe in a supernatural evil as a symbol because legend has it that it was the first to start asking questions and was cast out of heaven for that reason.”
Viewing the World Through a Scientific Lens
The club aims to encourage children to view the world through a scientific lens, rather than convert them to any specific religion.
Club Activities Involve Community Projects
Everett further elaborated on the club’s activities, stating many of them revolve around community projects, crafts, coloring books, and making friendship bracelets.
A Call to Rename the Club
She emphasized that renaming the club to something unrelated would only create more problems once people discovered its association with the non-traditional Temple.
The First Amendment Protects Their Rights
Jack Preis, a law professor at the University of Richmond, explained to WTKR that Chesapeake Public Schools have no choice but to allow the club due to the First Amendment.
It Must Allow All Other Clubs
If the school permits one religious club to meet, it must allow all other clubs, regardless of their religious affiliations.
The Club Is Not “Officially” Approved
In a statement released on Friday, Chesapeake Public Schools clarified that the club is not officially approved by the district but acknowledged their legal obligation to allow ASSC to use their facilities.
The statement highlighted the long-standing practice of granting varied community groups access to publicly funded facilities outside of regular school hours.
They Have Permitted Different Religious Groups
The school district mentioned that they have permitted different religious groups to rent their facilities after school over the years.
They Can’t Discriminate
They emphasized that, in accordance with the law and their policies, they cannot discriminate against any beliefs when it comes to groups seeking to rent their facilities.
The School Board Will Address the Concerns
The statement concluded by stating that the School Board will address the concerns raised by parents during its next meeting, providing an opportunity for parents to voice their apprehensions directly.
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