“The scientific research on corporal punishment is substantial and overwhelmingly conclusive and consistent,” the Protect Children Project states on their website, ProtectChildrenProject.com. “The studies reveal that corporal punishment is physically, mentally, and emotionally harmful and has deleterious long term consequences. Anecdotal reports of alleged benefits do not constitute scientific evidence.”

“The Satanic Temple believes that children should not be objects of physical violence or psychological abuse,” the group wrote. “We have prepared a letter that can be signed by student which inform their schools that their deeply held beliefs do not allow for them to be hit in school, physically restrained, placed in solitary confinement, or deprived access to the bathroom.”

So far, the legal tactic hasn’t been tested in court, according to the group, which says that if a student who registers is harmed and The Satanic Temple launches a legal challenge, the state would need to argue “that their right to abuse children supersedes the religious rights of students.”

“Hopefully, our billboard will serve as a daily reminder to the citizens there that they live in a barbaric backwater town where dysfunctional and possibly sexually disturbed middle-aged men may depravedly titillate themselves by violently spanking teenaged girls. The billboard should be disturbing to Springtown, as it is there because Springtown has proven to be a disgrace.” -Lucien Greaves

The 2012 incident was not the first time Springtown ISD made the news for its corporal punishment.

In 2007, the father of a 12-year-old Springtown Middle School student criticized a coach’s decision to paddle his child, causing bruising.

The coach later apologized at the family’s request a week later and police did not pursue charges because the injury was not severe enough, according to Weatherford Democrat archives.