For students to utilize a religious exemption from physical violence and psychological abuse perpetrated by school faculty, they must put their school on notice of their religious beliefs. If a student requests, we have a letter that we send out that informs that student's school board of their deeply held beliefs and that subjecting them to abuse would be a violation of their civil rights.
We assert that the following actions taken by school officials against students who are members of The Satanic Temple, or any other student who share TST’s religious beliefs, are violations of our civil rights:
If schools do not respect the religious beliefs of a student who has registered, we will work to try to obtain legal counsel to sue the school district for violating that student’s civil rights.
The Satanic Temple believes that children should not be objects of physical violence or psychological abuse. We have prepared a letter that can be signed by students which inform their schools that their deeply held beliefs do not allow for them to be hit in school, physically restrained, placed in solitary confinement, or deprived access to a bathroom.
We believe in the inviolability of the human body and the right to personal sovereignty. Being hit, held against your will in isolation, or physically restrained clearly violate these fundamental tenets.
No other religious organization has come forth with a public campaign to object to the abusive and immoral treatment of children in school. We hope our actions will raise awareness and inspire people of all faiths and beliefs to inform children that their deeply held beliefs matter. More so, we hope that if schools are forced to respect the religious rights of our members, they will wisely abandon implementing these abusive practices on all children.
From a legal vantage, the State cannot impinge on the beliefs of children without a compelling reason and there is no compelling evidence to support child abuse. From a moral vantage, the opinions of any individual who advocates violence against children should be suspect. From a rational vantage, ask those people what they mean by “effective” and they will generally argue that hitting children corrects unwanted behavior and promotes respect. The scientific research on corporal punishment is substantial and overwhelmingly conclusive and consistent. The studies reveal that corporal punishment is physically, mentally, and emotionally harmful and has deleterious long term consequences. Anecdotal reports of alleged benefits do not constitute scientific evidence.
People who live in the 31 states where corporal punishment is illegal tend to feel morally superior, but schools in those states find other ways to abuse children. The use of physical restraints and solitary confinement as a means of discipline is ubiquitous and the number of incidents keeps rising. Solitary confinement was traditionally reserved as punishment for the worst members of the prison population. Ironically, use of solitary confinement in prisons is declining due to an understanding that it is inhumane and may contribute to making the isolated population more violent and depraved, yet its use is rising dramatically in schools. That this form of retribution is now routinely used on children speaks volumes about the public education system. Not only are school teachers and administrators capable of engaging in sadistic practices such as these often with immunity from prosecution, but many, such as the American Association of School Administrators, will aggressively defend this kind of cruelty when performed on children. This runs completely counter to our satanic beliefs.
"The Satanic Temple’s Guide to Religious Freedom in Public Schools” addresses the Constitutional protections for religious expression in the classroom and shows how children are legally permitted to practice Satanism in public schools. The handbook provides information about how the First Amendment protects religious expression, which includes conducting Satanic prayer and wearing Satanic clothing and jewelry at school. As TST believes one’s body is inviolable, the handbook explains how Satanists are exempt from barbaric disciplinary tactics, such as corporal punishment, solitary confinement, being physically restrained, or being deprived of bathroom access, that amount to physical and psychological torture and violate our tenets when imposed without consent. We encourage students to notify their school board of their religious convictions and put them on notice that these forms of treatment violate their deeply-held beliefs and are civil rights violations constituting grounds for legal recourse."