teacher in classroom playing guitar
Is enjoying Iron Maiden really grounds for dismissal?

Can you get fired for being too metal? A group of parents want to find out, and are petitioning to remove their children’s high school principal because she is reportedly a fan of the metal band Iron Maiden.

A group of Ontario parents created a petition to have Sharon Burns removed from her role as principal at Eden High School, arguing that her love of metal and throwing up devil horns with her fingers, visible on her Instagram page, represents a Satanic threat to the souls of their children.

Too Metal for School?

“We are deeply disturbed that the principal assigned to the school blatantly showed Satanic symbols and her allegiance to Satanic practices on her public social media platforms,” read a petition put together by the concerned parents of St. Catharines, Ontario. “Our school is based on inclusion, and openly displaying Satanic symbols (on a public social media platform) that directly goes against the principles of the vast majority of families who represent the school, is not inclusive.”

The “Satanic symbols” in question appear to be images on Mrs. Burns’ Instagram, including her making the ‘metal’ gesture with her fingers, as well as a handmade ‘666’ sign. A recent addendum to the petition claims that the grievance lay only in the 666 sign, and that Mrs. Burns’ taste in music has nothing to do with it – it's the '666' and the devil horns that they find distasteful.

Students at the school, however, disagree. They started their own petition titled ‘We Need Mrs. Burns,’ where they say that the initial parental petition was about “judging” Mrs Burns for “liking the band Iron Maiden. That's it.”

Her students say that Mrs. Burns “spreads nothing but love and kindness, and is probably one of the best and most enthusiastic principals the school has ever had.” The counter-petition has some 5,000 signatures and counting. 

Shades of Satanic Panic

The controversy has reminded many of the so-called "Satanic Panic" of the 1980s and 90s, where everyone from metalheads to players of the roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons were accused of Satanic ritualistic abuse because their hobbies were a bit off the beaten path.

And while back then controversy spread slowly, now, with the internet, the virtual pitchfork mob can be marshaled within minutes. Just look at the response to Lil Nas X’s Satan Shoes, which were announced, released, and recalled in less than two weeks.

In the case of Mrs. Burns, however, the kids seem to be winning – at least for now. Their petition has many more signatures than the parents’ petition, and their metalhead principal has yet to be fired or moved to another district. But that could always change.

What do you think? Should someone who works directly with students be careful about associating with Satanic symbols? Or is this controversy an overblown attempt to scapegoat a principal for having "unacceptable" music interests?

51 comments

  1. Matthew Mastrogiovanni's Avatar Matthew Mastrogiovanni

    Has Tiper Gore been reincarnated? This is insane? Maybe the church should focus on eliminating it's pedophile priests and forget about a metalhead.

    1. Linda Salavarria's Avatar Linda Salavarria

      OMG Tipper Gore! What a piece of work!

    2. EC's Avatar EC

      Oh, but the PMRC went such a long way to making the world clean and pure! Why even today, I know just what music to buy. The stuff with the advisory sticker is always the best!

  1. Ruth E Barbour's Avatar Ruth E Barbour

    Canada doesn't have a State Religion. Even if the teacher was a Satanist (I am a Satanist), as long as she does not teach her religion to the students, she shouldn't be removed from her position. Clearly, the students love her as a teacher. If those parents want their children educated by teachers who share the same religious views, they can pay to send them to religious schools.

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      I wish we had more good Satanists like you writing on this blog, Ruth. Thankyou for being here!

  1. Alisa Kay Gill's Avatar Alisa Kay Gill

    Way to many people try to get rid of what they don't understand. The "horns'' have nothing to do with Satan, they are a symbol that Ronnie James Dio started from his background. It's meant to ward off evil spirits. So that part of their argument is definitely absurd. And let me tell you, as a metal fan myself, we are some of the most loving people on the world. Have these parents even bothered to read any of the lyrics to the songs? I don't think so.

    1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

      You are confusing what Christians say and believe vs the truth. Christians alway need something to demonize to scare people into continue believing. In the past they demonized comic books, chewing gum, men with long hair, dancing (Footloose movie), and rock and roll music.

      1. EC's Avatar EC

        If only they’d demonize blind faith and self-righteousness, we’d be getting somewhere.

        1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

          Imagine there's no heaven It's easy if you try No hell below us Above us, only sky Imagine all the people Livin' for today Ah Imagine there's no countries It isn't hard to do Nothing to kill or die for And no religion, too Imagine all the people Livin' life in peace You You may say I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one I hope someday you'll join us And the world will be as one

          Beatles song

          1. Catherine Ohrin-Greipp's Avatar Catherine Ohrin-Greipp

            John Lennon. "Imagine"

          2. ULC Rev Paul's Avatar ULC Rev Paul

            John Lennon song after he left the Beatles circa 1971.

    2. Linda Salavarria's Avatar Linda Salavarria

      @ Alisa...you know it!! Metal forever! Italian families put necklaces with that symbol on babies to ward of evil spirits. Here is a great explanation:

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sign_of_the_horns

      These people are trite and ridiculous. They really don't know what the symbol means but they're ascribing it to what they want it to mean. Hopefully their own children will educate them.

      Rock on!

    3. Matthew Janisse's Avatar Matthew Janisse

      @Alisa You are correct. Music is lost to the previous generation, and the conservative establishment as a whole. Why, as a rocker from the 70's, I understand why kids choose their music. It's the first and best form of self expression. My son will be a father soon, and he loves all kinds of music, but prefers metal. He's constantly showing me new bands and new music. And he works two jobs, has nothing bad to say about anyone, and thinks the established religions (abrahamics) are all extensions of the same cult. His humor is definitely my fault. But, he his a caring man and the epitome of what we should all strive to be-decent. The old guard are not. Forgive them, for they know not why they're foolish..... and rock on!

  1. Angel's Avatar Angel

    LMAO!!!! OMG!! Are they STILL on that 80's kick??? You have kids in gangs, kids who are shooting up schools, who are full blown dug addicts and you still want to focus on Iron Maiden?? These religios zealots never even listened to the band, they are just freaked out by "Eddie" the mascot. PEople need to get a grip and start focusing on what is REALLY wrong with society instead of hiding behind a delusion....

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Anyone who call himself an angel is bound to be delusional.

    2. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Spoken by a man (not an angel) who seems to know a lot about delusions. There's nothing wrong with Heavy Metal music. To the most part, to fans of it, it is very spiritual. Spirituality takes different paths. It's not all cut and dry, resembling a goodie-two-shoes religion full of ass-kissers. Last month I got another very spiritual CD of Queensryche in the mail, and but it in my Holy music case, right next to my spiritual CDs and DVDs of Judas Priest. You know, the saint who screwed Jesus.

    3. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      There is absolutely nothing Satanic about heavy metal music in and of itself. Although there may be some heavy metal musicians who are Satanists, that is true of some musicians of other genres as well. There are are even heavy metal Christian bands, like Stryper, for instance. I once had a friend who was a drummer in a Christian heavy metal band. Even though I don't think Christianity is any better than Satanism I do realize that they aren't the same thing, even though they both have roots in Christian mythology. The cornutu s to mbol which first came from Italy, is better known as a rock -n- roll, and often displayed to other rockers to show they're kindred spirits, and as a salute to eachother. I love practically all kinds of music, and have enjoyed listening to heavy metal for as long as there has been such a thing. However, I never learned how to play a guitar, but did play a clarinet in school band, and sang in choirs, when I wasn't listening to Black Sabbath & Judas Priest, etc..

    4. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      It's delusional to think that kids are any worse now than they ever were. By far most children are good people, and there have always been a much larger percentage of adults who were criminals. Many criminals didn't start doing bad things until after they became adults, and many of us juvenile delinquents have fully reformed. I bet I would have been a better kid if my teachers and principles were metal heads.

    5. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Comment has been removed.

  1. Ealdormon Piparskeggr Robinson's Avatar Ealdormon Piparskeggr Robinson

    I first saw Iron Maiden in the summer of 1978, Paul DiAnno was their lead singer. Bruce was with Samson. Saxon, Judas Priest and Ac/DC filled out the bill.

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      I sounds like you had a wonderful time, Eldormon. I wish I could have been there. Long live the Holy genre of Heavy Metal!!!

    2. Catherine Marie Boudreau's Avatar Catherine Marie Boudreau

      I saw them in January of ‘85. It was a gift for by 18th birthday from my then girlfriend (now ex wife) I think Twisted Sister opened for them. It was one hell of a show.

  1. Marcel French's Avatar Marcel French

    This is absurd not even remotely a worthy debate, however serves as a blatant reminder the ignorance that plagues this world. Fair warning to all who still have these sick debates THERE WILL BE NO REPEAT OF THE 1300's - 1650's! So drop this kind of thinking it's a waste of time. I sincerely hope the kids don't succeed, everyone deservers to live life and have a life outside of work and if you can't handle pictures on someone else's social media because of a hand symbol most commonly used to signify " Rock On " by people who like Rock music of all types then don't be disrespectful. The only real danger to the souls of those kids is there blatant inability to " Live peaceably and mind their own business. " 1 Thessalonians 4: 11. A truly Devine soul does not harbor such darkness it only leads to actions that lead to atrocities that corrupts a soul.

  1. Brien's Avatar Brien

    Dear idiot parents, I am not certain how the ULC manages to find every crazy, ignorant person on the planet, nor am I certain why I read it, but here we are. If you do not like the school your children are in, HOME SCHOOL THEM. You, nor anyone else except the local school board gets to hire or fire anyone. Please keep your ignorant, crazy, childish beliefs under your own roof. We just don't need any more nutcases right now. If you wish to have a nutjob 15 minutes of fame, please make an appointment, thank you.

  1. Benjamin Louis Drexler's Avatar Benjamin Louis Drexler

    “Our school is based on inclusion, and openly displaying Satanic symbols (on a public social media platform) that directly goes against the principles of the vast majority of families who represent the school, is not inclusive.” So inclusive, but not too inclusive?

    1. Tom's Avatar Tom

      That got me laughing so much. "We believe in inclusion as long as it's something we like." I'm glad that the irony of their hypocrisy isn't lost on everyone.

      1. EC's Avatar EC

        We are all about inclusion unless you’re different.

  1. Donald Mitchell Messervey's Avatar Donald Mitchell Messervey

    I personally know Mrs.Burns. she is the furthest thing from a satanic worshipper She is a kind and gentle woman who loves all of her students. I was lucky enough to meet her, we trained together for a charity boxing tournament and raised well over $100,000.00 for Multiple Sclerosis patients. The petition to have her removed has since been deleted by the woman who started it.

  1. Katelynne Shouse's Avatar Katelynne Shouse

    Pfffffft, these people shouldn't have been allowed to have children......complete and utter morons. I'd take the Love a Satanist gives over the "Love" Evangelical Christo-Fascist Dominionist such as these parents spew from their gobs any day of the week. And twice on Saturday's!

  1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

    Why? ONLY if the principal starts to try and demand items that do not fit the law should they be removed. As long as the principal is not breaking his contract and is doing what the board told him to do when he was employed, this is making a mountain out of a molehill

  1. Catherine Ohrin-Greipp's Avatar Catherine Ohrin-Greipp

    What? They're threatened by a 1970's metal band? Seriously? Where have they been for the past 40+ years?? What would happen if they listened to Genophobic Perversion's "Infernel Carnal Hunger for Human Flesh" album? I just imagine they would be screaming all the way to their imaginary hell just from looking at the album cover.

  1. John Anderson's Avatar John Anderson

    The "cornu" which the article refers to as "devil horns" is actually an insult which has nothing to do with the devil. It is accusing a man of being a cuckold. Just because something has been appropriated by some people does not change it's original meaning, which is why, in the Indian subcontinent, you will see swastikas all over the place. To the Hindus, a swastika is a good luck sign. Just because NSDAP appropriated it for their own use, doesn't change the meaning in a related culture (and, yes, the cultures of both are related, as Caucasians spread in both directions when they moved out of the Caucaus (sp??) Mountains). For crying out loud, having someone fired because of heir taste in music (after all, metal sells itself as what rock was originally called, the devil's music) is the same as firing someone because you don't approve of their favourite colour. Individual expression IS important for mental health. As long as the principal does nothing that endangers the children under his care or violates the law, let the person be themselves. In Ontario, there is a distinct separation between church and state. It's a high school, and publicly funded (i.e., NOT in the RC separate school system, which IS funded by the Church), therefore, there are laws in place to prevent a faith from being shoved down a student's throat. Give the principal that same respect. And, I grew up in, and still live in, Ontario, so I AM familiar with the way things work here.

  1. CB Cuff's Avatar CB Cuff

    Speaking of 'Satanic' symbolism, I think Kenneth Copeland would be a better target for this group of 'inclusive thinking' parents.

  1. David Arthur Lewis's Avatar David Arthur Lewis

    Congress shall make NO LAW respecting an establishment of religion. PERIOD.

    1. John Anderson's Avatar John Anderson

      Canada isn't bound by what Congress does. We were NEVER part of the US; in fact, the US tried invading us twice, and got pushed back severely both times (last time, Washington DC was razed in retaliation).

  1. Nicholas J Page's Avatar Nicholas J Page

    As long as it doesn't interfere with students learning Whatever a person's views of religion.Should be kept private and not brought into education of anyone.So leave Mrs Burn's to do what she's been trained to do but keep her religious feelings private

  1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

    These articles are meant to make Cristians as insane stupid control freaks in the eyes of next generation. It’s news stories like this one that’s driving people away from Christianity. And the fact that clergy still continue to rape children.

    1. CB Cuff's Avatar CB Cuff

      what does 'metal music' and rape have in common... nothing!

      1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

        @CB Cuff In the minds of Christians metal music like comic books, bubble gum, men with long hair and dancing causes is demonic and the rape of women and children. What they won't admit is becoming a priests and ministers have rapped millions of young boys, girls, women and men.

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    Ehrman, don't tell me you only listen to soft sounding elevator music. The music of loud and aggressive rockers will save your soul!!! And "For those about to rock, we salute you"!!!

  1. Mabh's Avatar Mabh

    Oh for pete’s sake. Seriously!? The kids have it right.

  1. Katharine Q Toler's Avatar Katharine Q Toler

    It is painfully obvious some people need to focus on education instead of an educator's musical taste.

  1. Takaya Kovani Sweeney's Avatar Takaya Kovani Sweeney

    It seems like a lot of folks want to go back in time.

    Some, to the 1800’s to re-establish slavery because they think their skin makes them better than others and because they’re lazy as f#*% wanna-be rapists and murderers who want others to do their work for free.

    Some, to the 1600’s to hold their very own witch trials, a la Salem, to keep women as objects instead of sentient beings capable of managing their own lives.

    While others, to the 1400’s to repeat the Spanish Inquisition and cram their religion down everyone’s throats.

    I really wish folks would just live their own lives and stfu about other peoples.

    The world would be much more peaceful.

  1. Naomi M. Roberts's Avatar Naomi M. Roberts

    She will keep her job! The petition to have her fired only received 533 votes yet a petition to support and keep her as principal received 23,638 votes! For those about to rock, we salute you! Not with so called "devil horns" but with the American Sign Language symbol for LOVE!

    https://www.lingvano.com/asl/blog/i-love-you-in-sign-language/

  1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

    Panicking lemming-headed adults suggest the Devil's at work and it's not in the principal, it's the stupid parents and idiot "taxpayers" who need something to do.

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    Ehrman, loud and aggressive persons are only vexations to our spirits if we let them get under our skin. I'm quicker to send them away, crying like babies.

  1. EC's Avatar EC

    “Our school is based on inclusion […]” Except for people who think differently from us.

    And oxymoron has the word “moron” in it.

  1. John Casillo's Avatar John Casillo

    IT REMINDS ME OF THE MUSIC LINE.....IT'S ALONG WAY TO THE TOP IF YOU WANT TO ROCK AND ROLL....APPARENTLY...NOT FOR MRS BURNS :) REV JOHN

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    This reminds me of a good song which makes me feel much better about my school days whenever I hear it. It starts out something like this: "School's out for summer! School's out forever!! School's been blown to pieces!!! Thinking about that gives me a peaceful, easy feeling, which reminds me of another song, and makes me wonder what those same parents think of the Hotel California.

  1. Brian Morgan's Avatar Brian Morgan

    Sounds kinda like a “witch hunt”.

  1. John Calvin Britt's Avatar John Calvin Britt

    I simply can't believe I'm having to live through the satanic panic AGAIN.

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