A mother of three kids that attend schools within the Hays Unified School District in Kansas sent a complaint before the Board of Education about the school dress code policy that bars students from wearing satanic apparel.
Mary Turner told the board that her family has belonged to the Satanic Temple for years. She brought forth a message to the board that the school’s dress code policy commits discrimination, which is against their right to express their religion.
Hays, Kansas (AP) BOARD ASKED TO REMOVE SATANISM REFERENCE IN DRESS CODE. https://t.co/8dQ3sXjOD4
— The Satanic Temple (@satanic_temple_) July 26, 2022
She claimed that the district's non-discrimination policy expressly states that no student will be discriminated against based on their religion. Still, the school specifically bans any apparel that references satanism on elementary and middle school students.
Last week, Turner told the board, "Banning satanic students from wearing clothes that declares their faith while allowing students of all other faiths to wear similar clothing is an act of discrimination.”
She asserted that there should be no reason for the school to prohibit her children from wearing attire that represents the practice of their religion.
This has sparked a question to the board that made them reconsider backtracking away from its school dress code policy. After the board discussion, Superintendent Ron Wilson said he would discuss this with the school administrators and have the dress code back for them to approve on August 5.
In October 2021, a similar issue to alter the anti-satanic dress code was raised in a Pennsylvania School District, and Satanists successfully convinced the district to address the appeal. The Rose Tree Media School District, just west of Philadelphia, used to ban satanic clothing, along with clothes that are sexually suggestive, obscene, disruptive, or promote violence.
Joseph Rose is the founder of a local organization called Satanic Delco. He launched a similar effort to change policy prohibiting satanic or “cult-ish” imagery. He said that a few children of his fellow Satanists attending schools in the district told him about the imposition of dress codes banning any items of clothing that are “satanic in nature.”
Rose stated, "The idea that a public school would allow religious expression in school, but choose to single out and prohibit the expression of one specific religion obviously seemed like a problem for us.”.
According to his testimony, it took him about a month of consistent emails and phone calls to the district before the superintendent finally addressed his concern and sent out an announcement that reads "... Although we have had no complaints or concerns brought forward by any student, parent, or resident we will remove this language from our current dress code information in the student handbook."
A local Satanic organization has convinced a school district in Delaware County that its dress code was discriminatory against Satanists. https://t.co/ZUpYoPnpw7
— Action News on 6abc (@6abc) October 26, 2021
Ann Juliano, a law professor, said that the district probably made the right decision for she recognized that there could be issues of religious belief in the future; hence, it is best to take it out.
The Satanic Temple has been a duly recognized church since 2019. Despite its name, the Satanic Temple does not bow before the Satan Christians call evil.
On Satanic Delco’s website, the believers answered a question regarding their devotion to Satan, saying religion can and should be divorced from superstition. They believe that Satanists should actively work to hone critical thinking and exercise reasonable agnosticism in all things. Their beliefs must be in accordance with the scientific understandings of the material world, not contrary.