Satanic Temple to celebrate Back to School night with crafts, science

Meredith Willse
York Dispatch

The Satanic Temple plans to celebrate Back to School night at Northern York County High School cafeteria with arts, crafts and science experiments. 

According to the nontheistic organization, the event planned from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, invites students, families and the community for a night of “fun for the entire family.” Admission is $10 a person online or a donation at the door. 

The Satanic Temple of Philadelphia and Eastern PA asks everyone over 18 to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccine and identification. 

June Everett, After School Satan Club campaign director, said vaccination proof is not required for all of the temple’s events; it depends on the event and event details. She said they will not ask adults to mask. 

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The temple will coordinate with local law enforcement to keep event attendees safe. 

“Hard to say for sure, but I’m sure there will be some protesters,” Everett said.

She added that the ability to peacefully protest is critical to a functioning democracy and the First Amendment, which also gives the organization the ability to rent out public school facilities.

The Satanic Temple’s event is in response to the Aug. 20 Back to School Prayer Night organized by the Dillsburg Community Worship and Prayer, which consists of members from several congregations. The prayer event had two hours of music and worship. 

Everett said her organization wanted to offer an event for community members who may not have been comfortable attending the prayer event due to being in a minority religion or no religion at all. 

The Satanic Temple created the national After School Satan Club based on a self-corrected learning curriculum designed for helping children build critical thinking skills and scientific thought — not converting kids to Satanism. Courtesy of Lucien Greaves.

The Northern York County School Board voted Aug. 23 to allow the temple and other groups, such as youth soccer and cheerleading teams, to rent the facilities. 

The school district released a statement on Friday stating, “As a public school district, the use of our school facilities must be permitted without discrimination.” 

The district cannot pick and choose who can rent the facilities, the district confirmed. 

“If we allow one organization, we must allow all organizations, provided they satisfy the conditions and application requirements,” the district stated. 

It added the district does not endorse the activity of any outside organization that rents from them. 

Lucien Greaves, cofounder of The Satanic Temple. Courtesy of Lucien Greaves.

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The district requires a fee from each group that rents space. The Satanic Temple will pay $1,050 for the space, $25 an hour for custodial services and for security fees and $20 an hour for the auditorium technician. 

This rental request follows a request in April to start an After School Satan Club, which the board members voted down. The temple threatened a lawsuit but has not yet filed one. Everett said the Satanic Temple has five years to pursue legal action. 

— Reach Meredith Willse at mwillse@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @MeredithWillse.

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