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First after school Satan Club in Colorado set to launch at Paonia K-8

The Satanic Temple After School Satan Club
The Satanic Temple
The Satanic Temple After School Satan Club

The first ever after school Satan Club in the state of Colorado will launch Monday, March 6 at Paonia K-8. The after school club billed as “ a focus on free inquiry and rationalism” is the product of The Satanic Temple, a nontheistic religious organization in the United States.

Delta County 50-J Assistant Superintendent Kurt Clay said a parent from the community requested the after school Satan club as an alternative to other religious based clubs who rent space at the school.

“In this particular case, it's considered a religious group and we allow other religious groups to use our facilities as well. In fact, in Delta County, we have from time to time other churches rent some of our facilities and so once we allow one we have to allow all,” Clay said.

Clay said the school district notified parents of the event prior to Monday’s launch, “So, it was on a newsletter that went home which said, ' Here is the club. If you want the flier, here's how you can obtain it’.”

He said the school district changed its policy on how fliers announcing extracurricular activities are disseminated following a similar incident at Delta Middle school around seven years ago.

Clay noted that the change gives parents more control over what their children are exposed to, “So, the parent gets to choose like ‘yep this is something for my kid, nope it's not something’ especially at our elementary levels.”

June Everett, Campaign Director for the After School Satan Club, spoke with KVNF on the controversial after school club.

“We look to Satan as a symbol and nothing more than that, so we aren’t devil worshippers. We don’t believe there’s a real Satan that is sitting down below us waiting to collect our souls,” Everett said.

She said the club in Paonia, led by volunteers from the Grand Junction chapter, will meet on March 6th, April 12th and May 17th.

“So, when there’s an opportunity for us to go into a community and represent who we are in a positive light and show people not always who you think is evil is evil and not always who you think is good is good. So, our after school Satan Club is one of those programs,” said Everett.

According to the group’s website, the club does not offer any materials or lectures about Satanism. Instead, they focus on free inquiry and rationalism, bolstering scientific understandings of the natural world, and nurturing a child’s ability to be curious about the wonders around them.”

While the after school club is geared toward younger elementary students, Everett said all students at Paonia K8 are welcome to join provided they obtain parental permission first.

Everett said the after school Satan Club hopes to return next fall depending on community interest. She gave praise to the school district for their professionalism in the matter.

“It was wonderful working with the school administration. They were very nice and they understood Constitutional law under the First Amendment and we got approved fairly quickly. We are super excited to launch our club on March 6.”

Initial community reaction to the club was on full display last week as a copy of the after school club flier posted on the Facebook page - Paonia Colorado Message Board drew mixed comments including some threats against the group.

Both Clay and Everett addressed potential protestors at the event.

“There’s a big thing that they’re going to picket and riot and so on. We don’t allow any of those things on our property and that won’t be allowed on the school district property. They can do that on a public street in a public setting so that they can be out on the road. You can petition and picket but not on the school property,” said Clay.

“Of course when we were talking about these clubs taking place directly after school, we’re always concerned about parents picking up small children. So, we want to make sure that those protestors do remain peaceful and that they don’t cross that line and start scaring kids and yelling and screaming and acting in a non peaceful manner,” added Everett.

Assistant Superintendent Kurt Clay asked protestors to carefully consider their actions in light of the event saying, “In my mind if we don’t like something, the way that we get rid of it is we don’t acknowledge it. I will just be up front with everyone, what this group wants is to be on 9 News the day after. If they’ve done that, they’ve been successful and they get the publicity that they’re looking for.”

Everett countered saying The Satanic Temple isn’t seeking ‘publicity for publicity’ sake but rather works to challenge religious privilege and offer alternative programs to families who ask for them.

“They can not discriminate against religious organizations based on their viewpoint,” said Everett.

Lisa was born in Texas but grew up on a small farm in Olathe, Colorado and considers herself a “Colorado native after six years of age.” Lisa has seven years experience in media, beginning as a News Director for a small radio station on the Eastern Plains. Following her initial radio career, Lisa worked as a staff reporter for The Journal Advocate in Sterling, Colorado and most recently as a staff reporter for the Delta County Independent. Lisa is thrilled to join the award-winning News and Public Affairs team at KVNF.