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The extracurricular club, which was being promoted for children ages 5 through 12, had originally been granted approval to meet in public school buildings in the Saucon Valley School District. This small suburban community is located about 60 miles north of Philadelphia in Northampton County, just outside Allentown.
Saucon Valley school superintendent Jaime Vlasaty announced one Friday night that she was rescinding approval for the club to use school facilities, saying the club had failed to meet the requirements to use district facilities.
Vlasaty also mentioned an anonymous voicemail which included threatening language and forced district campuses and after-school activities to shut down last Tuesday evening and all day Wednesday, per local news source Lehigh Valley Live.
“As a result of this violation, the educational programming and activities of the District has been significantly impacted and it has caused unequivocal disruption to the District’s daily operations,” Vlasaty said. “Our community has experienced chaos. Our students, staff and teachers have had to endure a threat to their safety and welfare. The gravity of feelings of instability, anxiety and fear have been profound.”
The school superintendent asked the community to calm down their “hateful” language in the wake of the controversy.
“Aside from my decision to rescind approval, I implore the Saucon Valley community to eliminate threatening, hateful and divisive language and behavior, and make a commitment in supporting our students and reinforcing the values of our community,” she said.
Vlasary continued: “I firmly believe that we can create a safe and inclusive environment within our District where everyone is respected and valued no matter their opinions and beliefs, but we must first model this within our homes, our community and with one another.”
The district’s decision to allow the After School Satan Club to use the middle school was shared with parents last Monday and quickly inspired heated debate from both sides. District representatives argued that the club was not affiliated with the school and should therefore be allowed to use the facilities.
After School Satan Club is coming to Hellertown, PA! Saucon Valley Middle School will host the first ASSC open to both elementary and middle schoolers!
To register your student for SVMS's ASSC, please visit: https://t.co/SZsZOu1HYB
— The Satanic Temple (@satanic_temple_) February 23, 2023
Parents quickly rallied, organizing a prayer service to be held outside the district Middle School on March 8, the day of the club’s first meeting.
“It’s by no means a protest,” organizer Marjulee Colon, a former Republican candidate for Lehigh County’s District 4 commissioner seat, told The Morning Call. “My goal is to have the opportunity to really flood that area with the presence of our God, who is love and grace and mercy.”
The parent who initially requested that the Satanic Temple should create the club in the Saucon Valley school district said they understood the backlash because they feel the same way about Christians.
“I can sympathize with it because I’m turned off by their religion,” the parent, who insisted on remaining anonymous, said. “I know what it’s like to be in their shoes.”
June Everett, national campaign director of the After School Satan Club, told The Morning Call that The Satanic Temple promotes freedom, science, justice and compassion and doesn’t promote worshiping the devil.
“We are disappointed and are considering our options,” Everett said in a statement after the club’s approval was revoked.