Satanic Temple One Step Closer to Forming 'After School Satan Club' at Utah Elementary School

Elementary school
First grader Adam Kotzian (C) does a spelling drill with classmates in his classroom at Eagleview Elementary school in Thornton, Colorado, March 31, 2010. |

The Satanic Temple is one step closer to forming a chapter of its After School Satan Club at an elementary school in Utah.

Earlier this year, the satanist group announced that it's starting After School Satan Club chapters in public schools across the country, including Vista Elementary of Taylorsville, located within the Granite School District.

A representative of the Satanic Temple emailed The Christian Post providing an update on the effort to establish an ASSC chapter at Vista.

"On Tuesday, our Utah chapter head followed up regarding our classification and if we'd be categorized as the Good News Clubs are," explained the spokesperson.

Satanic Temple statue
The Satanic Temple's template for a statue of Baphomet is pictured in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters June 27, 2014. |

"We actually heard back from the school district [on Friday afternoon] and they confirmed that the [Good News Club] is not a school-sponsored or student led group, and they pay a facility fee. With that in mind, we will disburse funds to Utah and proof of liability insurance in the coming week."

The spokesperson added that the Satanic Temple "is willing to pay facility fees in any of the school districts where that is common practice."

Benjamin Horsley, spokesman for the Granite School District, told The Christian Post that officials responded earlier this month to the Satanic Temple's demand that they start an ASSC chapter at Vista.

"This group sent a demand letter [on Aug. 1] and we responded with a copy of our policy, state statute and the rental requirements. We have not heard back from them since," said Horsley.

"I believe they were under the impression that the Good News Club, a Christian after school Bible club, was getting free access to Vista Elementary when, in fact, they have been renting it like any other private entity."

Horsley further explained the school district's policy when it comes to using school space under a state law called the "civic center" statute.

"The state's civic center statute provides that since our buildings are taxpayer funded, that any private group or individual must have access to school facilities when they are not being used for educational purposes," continued Horsley.

"As such, as long as this — or any other — private group's use conforms to the rental requirements, they will be permitted to rent the building."

For the 2015-2016 school year, the Good News Club paid $480 to rent a classroom space for one hour for 24 days. This came to $20 an hour. According to Horsley, this rate is the same for similar groups.

During the summer, the Satanic Temple garnered national headlines for its plan to establish After School Satan Clubs at various public schools.

In an earlier interview with CP, Satanic Temple spokesman Lucien Greaves said he was starting the Satan Club to counter Christian Good News Clubs where students meet at the end of the school day.

Graves argued, "While the Good News Clubs teach children shame, guilt, and fear — that they will die and be tormented in Hell — the After School Satan Clubs will focus on art projects and education with no religious opinion inserted.

"The program is merely created and operated by The Satanic Temple. There is no attempt to indoctrinate the children."

The Satanic Temple representative also told CP that they are considering "this in several other school districts as well, while we're also establishing our liability insurance for the clubs that will soon be in operation."

On the Satanic Temple's website, the ASSC has listed nine public schools where they intended to submit their request to start a student club.

"In Seattle we're moving forward to rent the facilities as an outside organization, as Seattle already has parents looking forward to send their children to ASSC," the Satanic Temple spokesperson told CP.

The Roskruge Bilingual School in Tucson, Arizona, was also listed on the Satanic Temple's list of public schools earmarked for the club.

Earlier this month, however, the Tucson Unified School District emailed a statement to CP stating that it has rejected the ASSC's request to start a club at Roskruge.

"The Satanic Temple has sent a letter of inquiry to Tucson Unified School District regarding holding an 'After School Satan' club at Roskruge Bilingual K-8. Our legal counsel has referred the organization to our policy requirements regarding after school clubs," read the statement.

"The suggested club does not currently meet the minimum requirement of having a faculty sponsor for the operation of any student club on a Tucson Unified School District campus."

In response, the Satanic Temple told CP: "Tucson claims we need a faculty sponsor in order to operate our club. As they can't simply defer their viewpoint discrimination further down the administration's chain of command, I suspect they'll have to assign us a sponsor, if that's what we require."

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