CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — 10 On Your Side’s investigative team has learned that the city of Chesapeake canceled a planned meeting of the After School Satan Club after the group promoted the gathering on Facebook.
The city approved the ASSC to use a 12-person room at the Indian River Public Library for a meeting that was scheduled for Aug. 10; however, city officials informed the ASSC that it could not use the facility a few days before the gathering.
The Satanic Temple posted on social media that it believes the cancelation is unconstitutional and a violation of the rights of families who planned to attend.
In a statement, city officials said:
The City has adopted uniform policies and user agreements which set forth the requirements, parameters, and expectations necessary to assure that events do not pose a threat to public health, safety or welfare or otherwise disrupt City operations. Individuals or organizations failing to comply with these polices and/or agreements are subject to having their facility usage cancelled by the City.City of Chesapeake
Through a Freedom of Information Act request, 10 On Your Side obtained a copy of an Aug. 8 email informing an ASSC organizer of the cancellation. In the email, Chesapeake Public Libraries Deputy Director Jessica Chatman said the city made a “public safety determination” after officials learned the ASSC advertised the meeting on Facebook.
The letter states that a flyer was posted on a public Facebook group advertising the time and location of the meeting, as well as inviting parents to fill out permission slips for their children to attend. At the time the letter was written, the post had 643 likes, 65 comments, and 50 shares. The letter also states that the ASSC did not inform the public that it reserved a room with a 12-person limit, leading city officials to believe the event would exceed the occupancy of the venue.
The city manager reached out to law enforcement to discuss the ability to mitigate any impacts from the meeting and determined that the event would likely interrupt business at the Indian River Public Library and “threaten the health, safety, and welfare of the public.”
The After School Satan Club held its first meeting back in February at B.M. Williams Primary School in Chesapeake after being put on hold for months due to backlash and safety concerns. Organizers said they brought the club to Chesapeake after Chesapeake Public Schools authorized a Christian club named the Good News Club.
WAVY’s reached out to the club’s organizers for more on this latest development.