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Photo: video.

Parents concerned about Satan Club at Olathe school

Parents of students at Olathe Northwest High School continue to express concerns about attempts to organize a “High School Satan Club.”

The club has not yet been approved, according to the school. It first requires an application form signed by at least 10 students interested in joining and the signatures of both a student representative and faculty supervisor. Student leaders also are expected to make a presentation to administrators, answering such questions as “What will this group bring to Olathe Northwest?”

The clubs are sponsored by the Satanic Temple, which the federal government recognizes as a religious group. Though few clubs have successfully organized, attempts have been made to form them at schools in Virginia,  CaliforniaColoradoIllinoisNew YorkOhio, and Pennsylvania.

olathe satan

A scene from “The Chilling Adventure of Sabrina”. The Satanic Temple sued Netflix for use of an image of their demon god. Source: Netflix video.

The organization is known for lawsuits seeking millions in damages. In 2018, it sued Netflix for $50 million after the streaming service used a statue similar to one of their demon god. The group said it caused injury to their business “reputation.” The suit was later settled though the final sum was not announced. Some have claimed the Satanic Temple funds its operations through these lawsuits.

As for Olathe, the district said a student requested to start the club but privacy laws prevent them from providing further details. It is not known if the Satanic Temple encouraged the student to form the club.

“I would love for them to reject that application,” parent Gregory Austin said. “I don’t think these kids are enemies. I think they’re just looking for belonging and looking for acceptance and looking for love, and if any group has marginalized them for any reason, I think it’s incumbent upon us to try and do a better job of making them feel loved.”

His son is a freshman at Olathe Northwest.

“From a more spiritual standpoint, because as a Christian because we know that the only job of the devil is to steal, kill and destroy — and I’m not saying these kids have any intention of doing that whatsoever — but the group that they’re with may be under that influence,” Austin said. “From a secular perspective, non-religious, there’s well-documented evidence, as per the U.S. Department of Justice, of a direct correlation between violent and criminal behavior of teen who are within that type of activity. So I’m concerned about the school sponsoring that type of activity.”

In May, a federal court ruled that a Pennsylvania school district could not ban the club since other clubs were allowed.

The rule that the court used actually stems from a 1981 Kansas City case in which the University of Missouri Kansas City was prevented from banning a faith-based group because it had already established an environment in which the school allowed forums of differing views.

That requirement at the post-secondary level was extended to secondary schools under the Equal Access Act adopted by Congress in 1984.

The Olathe school board may find its hands died even as parents are circulating a petition to stop the club from forming.  Over 7,000 signatures have so far been collected.

The district said in considering any application, they look at the Equal Access Act. The federal law requires that all public schools cannot discriminate against an applying student-initiated group based on the message, that is philosophical or religious, according to the district.

In other words, the district said if the school allows one club, it allows all, provided the application process is complete and the group meets the guidelines for recognition. “Olathe Public Schools follows both state and federal laws related to student groups, the district said.

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice


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