Just about everyone in Guilford County knows by now that an elementary school “Satan Club” may be held by Satanists at Joyner Elementary School starting on Friday, April 29.
School officials are apparently in a tight bind, because, while few if any want to see a Satan Club on campus, a 2001 US Supreme Court case prevents the schools from discriminating against a religious group’s use of school facilities if other groups are allowed to – and therefore schools can’t legally deny the use of facilities even for a club run by Satanists.
The flyer promoting the event states that those running it have been vetted and undergone a background check – and that there will be no attempt to turn the tikes into devil worshipers. Instead of human sacrifices, there will be fun, games, projects and an attempt to sharpen the critical thinking skills of the kids.
Still, a lot of people don’t like the idea of Satanists running an after-school club for students in 1st grade through 6th grade.
The debate rages furiously and, when the school system was asked on Wednesday, April 27 whether the event would take place, and, if so, the reason why it would, the response wasn’t terribly enlightening.
The school system’s response also includes a comment on a Bible-based Good News Club, which has applied to continue holding events in Guilford County’s schools.
The statement reads, “The requests for rental of Guilford County Schools facilities by the Good News Club and the After School Satan Club are under review and neither is authorized to use GCS facilities at this time. Neither of the two clubs are sponsored by Joyner Elementary nor were they solicited by the school.”
It adds that “GCS is currently reviewing with its legal counsel how fliers for non-school sponsored clubs and events are distributed, as well as the district’s obligation to grant organizations equitable access to our public facilities.”
Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston, who has been in contact with school officials regarding the matter, offered some insight into what was going on. Alston said that, while school officials do not want Joyner to be the site of the event, the legal advice they were getting from the school attorney, he said, suggests that they must.
Alston added that, though he’s a God-fearing man who wants nothing to do with Satan, he understands in this debate why the school system may be compelled to allow the event to take place. He said that the school has to follow the law even if doing so leads to uncomfortable circumstances, as in this case.
Even if the Elementary School Satan Club does take place, there’s the question of how many parents will give permission for their kids to go to Satan Club. One local news outlet said that, in the handful of other places around the country where such a club has been advertised, on average they have four kids attend.