The Satanic Temple raised $578 in York County — but no one wants the money

Meredith Willse
York Dispatch

Northern York County School District allowed The Satanic Temple to hold an event on school property — but officials declined the group's monetary donation.

It's the latest in a series of disagreements between the school and the nonprofit that advocates for separation of church and state. This spring, the school board rejected a proposed student After School Satan Club but subsequently approved a back-to-school night in the high school auditorium. About 50 people attended the temple event inside as a similar-sized group of protesters stood outside the school and prayed.

“I can’t help but wonder if teachers in the community who continually have to dip into their own personal finances for supplies would be frustrated to know that their superintendent can’t get past his own personal bias and bigotry to benefit the children,” said June Everett, campaign director for the After School Satan Club. 

Everett said she contacted the district on Sept. 29 to ask if school officials would take the $578 raised from the event.

Superintendent Steven Kirkpatrick told The York Dispatch that he “respectfully declined” the direct donation on Oct. 6.  Instead, Kirkpatrick said he suggested the temple donate the money to New Hope Ministries, a Christian group that helps those in need, or another service organization. 

Steven Kirkpatrick will be new superintendent at Northern York County School District effective July 1, 2020.

“These organizations are best equipped to effectively distribute supplies and goods to families in our school community that are most in need,” he said.

The temple is a Massachusetts-based organization that was granted tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service in 2019 and does not worship Satan. Rather, the temple “encourages benevolence and empathy” and pushes for a strong separation of church and state. It often does so via the courts, and the group repeatedly threatened lawsuits against the Northern York district. So far, it hasn't followed through.

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Everett said the temple initially tried to donate to the Polar Bear Foundation, a local group made up of parents, alumni, retired and current school staff and community members who help pay for various programs through the school district.

Polar Bear Foundation President Seth Weaver declined the donations on Aug. 25 in an email explaining the organization can't accept donations from any religious organizations so it can remain unaligned. 

Yardley Sipe (10), from Marietta, playing the Theremin at the Satanic Temple's back to school event at Northern High School in Dillsburg on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022.

Everett said the temple was disappointed that the money they raised was turned down by the school, adding that the organization hoped the money could be used for school supplies.

For now, the group is moving on, she said, seeking other education-related groups who could use the money.

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The temple, Everett said, will do "whatever we can do to get classroom supplies into the hands of the teachers in Northern York School District." 

This article was corrected to reflect the amount of money raised by The Satanic Temple.

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

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