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Some Schools Ban Peace Symbol as Satanic Sign

June 19, 1989

PASADENA, Texas (AP) _ Schools have banned the peace symbol made famous by anti-war protesters and flower children, saying the sign is used by devil worshipers.

″It’s harder for those of us who lived in the ’60s to be told that the peace symbol means something completely different,″ said Kirk Lewis, spokesman for the Pasadena Independent School District in this Houston suburb.

″But experts are telling us that, and it became inappropriate for children to wear them.″

The peace symbol is prohibited in at least six Pasadena schools, and a districtwide ban may be established in the fall, he said.

A few miles away, Baytown schools also ban the symbol.

Pasadena officials said the recent drug- and cult-related slayings of 15 people in Matamoros, Mexico, reinforced their doubts about the symbol.

″The dramatic conclusion of that tragedy made us sit up and take notice, but the awareness was already there,″ Lewis said. ″We’d pick up little signs, like students doodling things on desk tops while not listening in class or rumors of some students involved in cult practices.″

Student Andrew Yuhr, 12, said his T-shirt with the symbol ″just meant peace.″

″If they ban peace symbols, they’ll have to ban basic geometry because of all its lines and circles,″ he said.

The peace symbol - a circle with an inverted ″Y″ with an extended bar - is believed to date from the late 1950s, created by nuclear disarmament advocates from the semaphore codes for ″N″ and ″D.″

Lyle J. Rapecki, an occult expert in Flagstaff, Ariz., and author of a book on satanic symbols, said that to some groups, the peace symbol represents Nero’s Cross, which he described as an upside-down cross with broken arms.

Debora Johnson said she was shocked when her 11-year-old told her about the peace-symbol ban at school.

″A lot of my hippie friends wore peace symbols. When my son told me some people are saying it has an evil meaning, I said, ‘That’s not what that means.’ I was shocked,″ she said. ″From peace symbol to devil sign - there’s a big gap there.″

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