Palatine school clarifies confusion over 'Satan Club' at Moline school with same name
Most Chicago-area residents don't often confuse the Northwest suburbs with the northwest corner of Illinois, but it's apparently harder to see the difference from 800 miles away.
Officials at Palatine Township Elementary District 15 now are trying to clear up the confusion caused when the New York Post used a photo of the front of Jane Addams Elementary School in Palatine to illustrate an article about a different school with the same name in the Quad Cities community of Moline. That school is allowing students to register for an "After School Satan Club" organized by The Satanic Temple.
Amy Molinsky, principal of the Palatine school, issued a letter to her community to clarify the media mistake.
"Again, I would like to assure you that our school has no such after-school program," Molinsky wrote. "I appreciate the families and community members who have made me aware of this situation and I hope this message helps provide our school community with accurate information."
District 15's Chief Communications Officer Rebecca Latham said she and her colleagues also hope the New York Post will make a similar effort to correct its error.
"We've reached out to them on as many platforms as we could," Latham said.
The New York Post article does correctly identify the school in question as being in Moline and includes a photo of that district's superintendent.
Latham said District 15 erroneously has received phone calls and emails from people, not necessarily in its own community, asking why it would allow such a program.
And in the Moline-Coal Valley School District 40 where the program is taking place, Superintendent Rachel Savage addressed similar but more applicable questions on her district's website.
Savage explained none of her district's teachers are taking part in the program, that school board policy allows for community rentals of facilities, and that it would be illegal to discriminate in determining which organizations can lease space after other religious entities already have done so.
Flyers for the after-school program don't describe it in a way many might expect.
"Hey Kids, let's have fun at After School Satan Club!" the flyer reads under the logo of a gentle-looking cartoonish character bearing horns, a mustache and goatee. "Science Projects! Puzzles & Games! Arts and Crafts Projects! Nature Activities!"
The flyer goes on to tell parents that their children will learn benevolence and empathy, critical thinking, problem-solving, creative expression and personal sovereignty.
Savage's statement further clarifies the flyers were not distributed to students but that 30 were sent over by the organization to be left on a table in the school lobby.
Many schools in the U.S. are named in honor of important historical figures rather than pursuing unique identities. Others in Illinois that pay tribute to the revered Chicago social worker Jane Addams can be found in Schaumburg, Bolingbrook, Melrose Park, Springfield and Chicago itself.