B.M. Williams Primary School in Chesapeake, Virginia, hosted an “After School Satan Club” earlier this month and now says they have been targeted with a credible bomb threat.
The Satanic Temple’s children’s club was set up in response to the Evangelical Good News Club being hosted at the school. The group argued that if the school allows one religion to host events, they must allow all.
Law enforcement was called to the school on Tuesday morning over an emailed threat over the club.
WAVY News received a copy of the email, which was sent to multiple people. The threat was directed toward a Chesapeake school board member, the Chesapeake schools superintendent, and the organizer of the After School Satan Club.
“You are evil, there is no other way to put it.” It goes on to say, “You promote devil worship and unIslamic values.”
The local station reports, “a sign on the school’s front door stated it was on a level 1 lockdown, which means there is a threat (potential shooter, criminal, etc.) nearby, but the school itself is not necessarily being targeted. The school was to be locked until law enforcement officials gave the all-clear.”
According to a flyer posted on Reddit, the club plans to teach kids “benevolence and empathy, critical thinking, problem-solving, creative expression, personal sovereignty, and compassion.”
“We are non-theistic,” Rose Bastet, a volunteer organizing the new club, told local station WAVY. “I understand the apprehension behind the satanic name, but he is just an imaginary figure that we look to because he is the eternal rebel that fought for justice and humanity.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia has called the satan club’s entry to the elementary school a win for free speech.
“Under the First Amendment, the government can’t treat one religious group less favorably than another, and it can’t give potential objectors or hecklers a ‘veto’ over unpopular speech by charging the speaker … a security fee,” Matthew Callahan, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Virginia, the The Hill. “That the school district ultimately recognized this and is taking steps to correct these unlawful actions and policies is an enormous victory for free speech, religious liberty, and democracy.”
The report added that “the ACLU added that the club will also be able to make up meetings it planned for December 2022 and January 2023, when the club was put on hold after a backlash prompted a club organizer, who said she feared for her family’s safety and privacy, to pull a request to hold gatherings at the school.”