Iron Maiden members Adrian Smith, Nicko McBrain, Bruce Dickinson, Steve Harris, Dave Murray, backstage in 1985. Paul Natkin/Getty Images
A Canadian high school principal loves Iron Maiden and posts about the band on social media.
Parents started a petition to transfer Eden High School Principal Sharon Burns.
They said it was inappropriate for her to post a drawing that featured the symbol “666.”
Parents of high school students in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada have started a petition to remove a school official because of the classic heavy metal band Iron Maiden.
Close to 400 people have signed the Change.org petition to transfer Eden High School Principal Sharon Burns.
IHeartRadio reported that the petition was started by Debbi Lynn.
“As concerned parents with impressionable children at Eden High School in St. Catharines, Ontario, 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 where all the students can see them under @edenprincipal (not her personal account),” the petition said.
On Friday, an update on the petition said they didn’t want to remove Burns because of her love for Iron Maiden but because of “openly displaying her OWN handmade sign with the 666 clearly displayed on it.”
The number 666 is used to represent the devil, antichrist, or evil.
Iron Maiden was formed in 1975 in East London, England, and grew popular in the early 1980s with several albums going platinum or gold including “The Number of the Beast” in 1982 and “Piece of Mind” in 1983. The group is still touring.
Burns’s Twitter bio identifies her as “Principal at Eden High School. Growth Mindset Practitioner. Fueled by metal & ska. & chickens.”
A petition in support of Burns had more than 10,000 supporters by Friday night.
“It is ridiculous that a couple of parents only judge her role as a principal only based on an instagram post. (About liking the band Iron Maiden. That’s it.) Eden High School is a public school. Not a Christian school. If you somehow don’t like the principal of your child, grandchild, relative etc.’s school, then send them to another one,” it said.
The incident is reminiscent of the “Satanic Panic” of the 1980s, when conspiracy theorists claimed satanic cults were abusing children, NPR reported.
Vox reported that paranoia grew in the 1980s as many faced anxieties over changing family structures, the need for childcare, and an increase in attention to kidnapping as faces of victims began to be placed on milk cartons.
At the same time, Vox reported that Christian fundamentalism was growing, and so were messages fighting against things relating to spirits. Anti-occult crusader Pat Pulling, for example, said Dungeons & Dragons, a fantasy tabletop role-playing game, caused her daughter’s suicide and labeled the game as dangerous to children.
Vice reported the fear also led to certain types of music being seen as the “work of Satan,” especially heavy metal.
Eden High School, Burns, and Iron Maiden did not respond to Insider’s request for comment at the time of publication.
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