October 28, 2021
A Pennsylvania school district that had banned clothing that was ‘satanic in nature’ is changing its dress code after being accused of religious discrimination.
The leader of a Delaware County satanic organization, Satanic Delco, claimed the Rose Tree Media School District – which reportedly permits religious expression – was isolating people with certain ideologies.
The dress code prohibited clothing and accessories that were sexually aggressive, advocate violence; promote tobacco, alcohol and drug use; contain obscene language, are disrespectful or are ‘satanic in nature’.
‘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 was just so obviously unfair and unconstitutional,’ Joseph Rose, founder of Satanic Delco, told ABC 6.
After nearly a month of communication with the organization, Rose Tree Media School District announced it was revising the verbiage in the handbook.
‘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,’ Superintendent Eleanor DiMarino-Linnen announced in a district-wide email.
Rose said he was made aware of the dress code by fellow Satanists who had a child attending Penncrest High School.
‘As soon as I learned of it, it took me 10 seconds before I dropped everything that I was doing,’ he told Patch, noting that he repeatedly contact the district until changes were made.
‘I wasn’t making a lot of progress. I think sending the message I wasn’t going to stop made a difference.’
After nearly a month of pushing, DiMarin-Linnen responded to his complaints, Rose alleges.
‘I have reviewed the language and agree that it could potentially restrict student expression and exercise of religious rights (although your organization appears to be secular in nature),’ she allegedly wrote to Rose in an email.
Ultimately, the Rose Tree Media School District revised the handbook to say:
Students should not dress in a manner that advocates illegal or anti-social behavior.
Examples of prohibited items include, but are not limited to clothing, patches, buttons, pins, jewelry, and backpacks that:
● Have sexually suggestive writing/pictures
● Advocate violence
● Advertise or promote the use of tobacco, alcohol, drugs
● Have double meaning wording or obscene language/gestures ● Are disrespectful
The words ‘satanic in nature’ were removed completely.
A law professor at nearby Villanova University argued that the district did the right thing but revising the code.
‘I really do like the way they phrased it. They recognize that there could be religious beliefs that issue, not that there are, but there could be, and therefore they would take it out,’ Ann Juliano told the TV station.
However, several Delaware County residents have expressed negativity towards to decision.
‘I wouldn’t want a Satanic or cultish anything on clothing in schools,’ Lisa Cutrufello, of Clifton Heights, stated.
‘It’s like a free speech issue. Are they going to allow Nazis to be able to put symbols on kids’ shirts and send them to school,’ argued Donna Willis, of Media.
Meanwhile, Satanic Delco has launched a campaign against another area school, the Garnet Valley School District, whose dress code prohibits clothing with satanic or ‘cult-ish’ imagery.
Rose argues that advocating for religious equality helps educate others about their ideologies.
‘It just sort of raises awareness for what Satanists are, what we’re not, and maybe helps empower us a little when we have to reach out to the next high school, which I’m doing,’ he explained.
According to the Satanic Delco website, the organization does not worship Satan but instead argues that beliefs should be based in material facts, not superstition.
‘We do not promote a belief in a personal Satan. To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions,’ the website reads.
‘Satanists should actively work to hone critical thinking and exercise reasonable agnosticism in all things. Our beliefs must be malleable to the best current scientific understandings of the material world – never the reverse.’