PHOENIX — An Arizona school district has turned down a group’s bid to start a satanist club on campuses and asked the group to stop listing one of its school as a potential site.
Earlier this year, the Satanic Temple stirred up controversy that eventually led to the Phoenix City Council to temporarily drop the opening prayer at meetings to sidestep the group’s request to participate in the invocation.
Tucson was one of nine public school districts contacted this week by the satanist group, which asked permission to set up the After School Satan Club.
The Tucson Unified School District said it told the Satanic Temple that the group didn’t meet “the minimum requirement of having a faculty sponsor for the operation of any student club” on a district campus.
The group, which as a chapter in Tucson, had asked to create a club at Roskruge Bilingual, a K-8 school. It is listed on the club website as one of the schools the satanists “offered to present our curriculum.”
The other districts are in California, Georgia, Florida, Missouri, Oregon, Washington state.
The Granite School District in Utah said that if the group met requirements, including paying rent, there was nothing the district can do to stop it from setting up a chapter.
The Satanic Temple has taken up similar causes outside schools, including seeking to install an 8½-foot-tall bronze statue of Satan at the Oklahoma Capitol to stand in contrast to a Ten Commandments monument.
Oklahoma’s Supreme Court later banned all religious displays on Capitol grounds. The group is seeking to do the same outside Arkansas’ statehouse, where a Ten Commandments monument has been proposed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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