Some parents of students at a Moline elementary school are in shock while others are curious after learning about a new after school club.
The After School Satan Club is run by the Satanic Temple, according to a flyer promoting the club. Students who attend must have permission from parents.
The first meeting is scheduled for 2:45-3:45 p.m. Thursday at Jane Addams Elementary, 3520 53rd St., Moline. Other meetings are planned for Feb. 10, March 10, April 14, and May 12.
Parent Wayne Marlow has two children who are students at Jane Addams, and says he is curious what the club will offer.
“I’m going to be there; I want to see what it’s like,” he said Wednesday. “The flyer seems interesting. It looks like there’s some good quality there. I want to check it out myself as a parent. I’ve been a parent for 10 years and I try to stay very active.
“I welcome the idea of there being a new club that I could maybe get the kids in and have the chance for more involvement,” he said.
The flyer says students will do science projects, puzzles, games, arts & craft projects and nature activities.
Moline-Coal Valley School District Superintendent Rachel Savage says she understands parent concerns.
“These types of club and organizations have nothing to do with our school day; it’s not taught in our schools,” she said. “It’s not part of our curriculum. It’s not part of our teaching staff none of that it is a separate organization renting our facility after school,” Savage said Wednesday. “They can chose to send their child to that after school club or not its completely parental choice and its not something that the school district is involved with.”
Local 4 News reached out to the Satanic Temple campaign director. June Everett sent us a statement about the After School Satan Club (ASSC). In part, it reads:
“ASSC is focused on education, critical thinking, etc. It happens to be a program operated by The Satanic Temple, but it does not teach Satanism.”
After School Satan Clubs meet at select public schools where Good News Clubs also operate, according to The Satanic Temple website. “Trained educators provide activities and learning opportunities, which students are free to engage in, or they may opt to explore other interests that may be aided by available resources,” it says.
“The environment is open and parents are welcome to participate. While the classes are designed to promote intellectual and emotional development in accordance with TST’s tenets, no proselytization or religious instruction takes place.”
Good News Clubs take place in settings such as homes, backyards, schools and community centers all over the world. These programs are designed to bring the Gospel of Christ to children on their level in their environment, according to the Child Evangelism Fellowship website.
Local 4 News heard from the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF), which operates Good News Clubs. In a statement Wednesday, spokeswoman Lydia Kaiser said:
“CEF believes in freedom of religion, so supports the formation of any clubs and doesn’t feel threatened by Satan Clubs.”
“We have seen them fail because they are not well-run and don’t have the support of parents and volunteers,” Kaiser said. “It’s difficult to find even a handful of them that are actually running, whereas there are over 5,000 Good News Clubs going strong in USA elementary schools. The tactics of the Satanic Temple are harmful to all children by wasting the time of school boards and jeopardizing after-school activities.”
One of the Satan Club tenets purports to support freedom while doing the opposite, by trying to undermine and shut down the activities of others, the CEF said.