The excellent Dirge Magazine reports that the Satanic Temple is stepping up to help protect children from physical abuse in school. The Protect Children Project raises awareness of corporal punishment still going on in America and offers students tools to defend themselves. The site offers a boilerplate school board letter for students to print out and sign, cc’ing the Protect Children Project. The letter affirms the student’ deeply held belief that beatings, solitary confinement, and similar are wrong and calls upon the school to respect the student’s First Amendment rights. The Satanic Temple, of course, espouses rights to individual sovereignty and bodily autonomy. The site has the disclaimer:
Please note that this tactic has not yet been tested in court. If a student who registers is subsequently harmed and we launch a legal challenge, the State would need to argue that their right to abuse children supersedes the religious rights of students.
But I think they have a really good case. Of course, I’m a degenerate Satanist who is not also an attorney, but I think the Satanic Temple has their constitutional law right on this one. Unfortunately, their web development is not as strong as their legal scholarship, so the registration page is not currently working, but you can still email them from their contact page. Can you imagine being the lawyer for the State who was asked to “argue that their right to abuse children supersedes the religious rights of students?” If you think your job sucks, just be glad you are not that guy.
Dear School Board:
I am a member of The Satanic Temple, a religious organization whose adherents believe one’s body is inviolable and thus subject to one’s own will alone. It is our religious belief that you do not have the right or authority to inflict pain or psychological abuse of any kind on any individual who attends your schools. This includes, without limitation, the use of corporal punishment, the imposing of physical restraints, restricting bathroom access, and the use of isolation rooms or other means of solitary confinement.
I am writing to advise you that we take our beliefs seriously. We are prepared to take legal action if they are violated, including, without limitation, filing civil suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C.§1983 against anyone associated with your school district who inflicts punishments of the aforementioned kind on any individual who attends your school.
The Satanic Temple has been advised that [STUDENT] shares our relgious belief. I am writing to request that you notify the principal, teachers, and other staff who have contact with this student about these religious beliefs and direct them not to willfully inflict any kind of physical or psychological harm for any reason. Please confirm whether you will comply with this request. Your cooperation would be appreciated.
Very truly yours,