After-school Satan clubs are sprouting across the United States. The latest is in northern Pennsylvania. Billed as a “back to school” program, The Satanic Temple will now host a club at Northern High School in Dillsburg.
Disapproving parents rallied at the Board of Education to voice their opposition to no avail. Last April, the board shot down a proposal by the satanic group to host such events in local elementary schools. However, this time the Northern County District said their hands were tied due to the group being a bona fide IRS 501(3)(C) organization and, as such, the board has no authority to hinder the program.
“As a public school district, the use of our school facilities by outside organizations must be permitted without discrimination,” the district said in a statement. “The moment we allowed the first organization to use our facilities, we opened the door for every organization to do so provided they satisfy the conditions and application requirements as set forth in policy. We cannot and do not arbitrarily pick and choose which organizations may or may not use our facilities.”
Even though the organization has been given approval for the one-time event, Lucien Graves, co-founder of The Satanic Temple is unsatisfied, noting the approval of the event does not allow for an “after-school club.”
Graves is suing the Northern York County School District, whose board voted 8-1 in April to reject the ongoing after-school club at Northern Elementary School. He says the approval of a one-time use on the night of Sept. 24 is not good enough.
“Oh, no. We’re going to litigate against them for not allowing the after-school Satan club, And we’re going to win,” Graves said.
The one-time approval of the Dillsburg high school auditorium comes with the stipulation that TST pays $1,260, which the district said covers the cost of renting, cleaning and securing the facility and using its technology.
The school district’s superintendent issued a statement saying that while the school cannot arbitrarily pick because it would be considered discrimination, “In approving any request, the School District does not endorse the activity of any outside organization that rents our facilities, nor are those entities permitted to use the School District’s name or logo.”