Campaign Grants Students Religious Exemption from Being Hit or Placed in Solitary Confinement in School
New York, NY -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/10/2014 -- The Satanic Temple, a religious organization based in New York City, has declared May 15th “Protect Children Day” with the mission of putting an end to corporal punishment and the use of isolation rooms in schools for Temple followers and those who share these beliefs. The Protect Children Project campaign encourages students to register at the project website, as the temple will then notify their respective school boards that their deeply held beliefs oppose physical and psychological abuses, including the use of corporal punishment, physical restraints, and isolation rooms as forms of punishment.
In the latest census, the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education reported that over 210,000 students were struck during the course of a single year, with cases of physical restraints numbering over 39,000. In light of such shocking statistics, the Temple hopes that the Protect Children Project will be an effective method of combatting these abuses. In addition to online registration where students can affirm their beliefs and allow for the Temple to place their school board on notice on their behalf, a letter that outlines these beliefs is available for download for students to sign and deliver to their school principal. Parents and volunteers all over America are encouraged to download copies of this letter and physically distribute it to students at their local schools on May 15th.
“One of the fundamental tenets of The Satanic Temple is personal sovereignty and the inviolability of one’s body and mind. Hitting a child or placing them in solitary confinement goes entirely against our beliefs,” says Lucien Greaves, Temple spokesperson. “The documents we have made available not only provide students with a notice they can give to their principal that explains their beliefs, but also informs schools that if they refuse to acknowledge the deeply held beliefs of students, they would be violating their civil rights. School officials could potentially face criminal charges if they disregard a student’s convictions. If students report to us that they have notified their principal of their religious views and they are physically or psychological abused despite that, it is our intention to intervene.”
Per the report “A Violent Education,” issued in 2008 by the Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union, corporal punishment at school has led to tens of thousands of emergency room visits where some children have even died from their wounds. Studies have also shown a clear correlation between corporal punishment and lower IQ, depression, early heart attacks and a higher propensity for addiction and obesity. It also adversely impacts family relationships. What’s more, a report issued by the U.S. Alliance to Stop the Hitting of Children shows that spanking perpetuates child abuse and teaches children it is acceptable for people in positions of authority to resort to violence as a means of getting what they want.
Corporal punishment is practiced in 19 states, but where it is not permitted, many schools place students in solitary confinement sometimes called: “seclusion rooms,” “isolation rooms,” “decompression rooms,” “time-out rooms,” or “scream rooms.” The prevalence of this form of punishment is dramatically rising even as its use is being markedly reduced in prisons because it is ineffective and inhumane. According to Greaves, this form of punishment is also unacceptable treatment for Temple members. “The physical and psychological abuse of children is completely immoral. It is disturbing that no other religious organization has publicly expressed this sentiment and we sincerely hope our colleagues of other faiths will come forth to protect children from these kinds of violence and support our initiative.”
In addition to making a letter available to students and their parents, The Satanic Temple is also providing educational fact sheets on corporal punishment and solitary confinement, a Satanic-themed activity book and FAQs so that students can understand their religious rights in the school setting. “We want children to know that they are permitted to pray to Satan in school and that they can even share their religious beliefs with others in accordance with certain guidelines,” Greaves said.
About The Satanic Temple
The mission of The Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will. Civic-minded, The Satanic Temple has been involved in a number of good works including taking a stand against the controversial and extremist Westboro Baptist Church. For more information about The Satanic Temple, please visit http://www.thesatanictemple.com/.