THREE RIVERS, Texas – On Texas on Highway 281, less than a mile from Three Rivers High School, is a billboard purchased by the Satanic Temple that reads "our religion doesn't believe in hitting kids."
Malcolm Jarry, co-founder of The Satanic Temple said the sign is in response to the Three Rivers school board reinstating corporal punishment in schools
"(Corporal punishment) is something we religiously object to," Jarry said. "In addition, all scientific research has shown adverse outcome including promoting violence and lowering IQ."
The billboard directs people to the Satanic Temple's "Protect Children Project" website.
"From our vantage, if a child does not want to be hit, parental permission is irrelevant," Jarry said. "Children have First Amendment rights to religious beliefs and our religious beliefs affirm that one's body is inviolable, subject to one's will alone. If a child is a member of The Satanic Temple and he or she is subject to corporal punishment, that would be a violation of their civil rights and we will sue the school system."
Three Rivers ISD responded to the billboard with the following statement obtained by The Progress.
“It has come to our attention that outside groups may try to force their beliefs on our community while attempting to orchestrate controversy and conversation regarding this policy. We believe that the majority of our community is very supportive of the school and our policies. We believe that the conversations that take place between our administrators and our parents regarding student behavior are the most important conversations regarding this topic. The district continues to focus on the greatest aspect of our work which is educating children and will not have any further comment on this policy.”
Based on the statement, it appears Three Rivers will not reverse its decision to reinstate corporal punishment.