Harrisburg, PA (AP)
Two civil liberties groups representing 11 parents on Tuesday sued a school district that is requiring students to learn about alternatives to the theory of evolution.
The ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State said the lawsuit is the first in the nation to challenge whether public schools should teach “intelligent design,” which holds that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by some higher power.
The Dover Area School District was believed to be the first in the nation to mandated the instruction of intelligent design when it voted 6-3 on Oct. 18 in favor of including the concept in the science curriculum.
The ACLU contends intelligent design is a more secular form of creationism, a biblical-based view that credits the origin of species to God, and may violate the constitutional separation of church and state.
“Intelligent design is a Trojan horse for bringing religious creationism back into the public science classroom.” Witold Walczak, legal director for the state ACLU chapter, said during a news conference.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg. The complaint alleges that the parents “perceive the district’s action as conveying a governmental message that students should subscribe to the religious views reflected in the assertion or argument of intelligent design.”
School district officials had no immediate comment on the lawsuit. Administrators have declined to discuss the mandate, which applies to ninth-grade biology classes at Dover High School.
School board member William Buckingham, who spearheaded the change as leader of the board’s curriculum committee, has said previously that he proposed the change as a way to balance evolution with competing theories that raise questions about its scientific validity.
One of the plaintiffs, Tammy Kitzmiller, expressed concern that the school board would mandate the teaching of “something that isn’t accepted as science.”
Hopefully the challenge in court will succeed, because this IS a blatant violation of separation of church and state in my eyes, and even in the eyes of my mom, and some others, who ARE Christians themselves (I am not a Christian per se, although like a lot of others, I find some good things to filch from the Bible for personal use. I.E. Don’t Steal, etc.). I don’t feel that this theory, which holds less weight scientifically than a goose down feather, has any place in a public school science curriculum.
This matter hits close to home, as I have family members who go to Dover High School, and my girlfriend is a teacher here where we live here in Warren. If the plaintiffs fail in this matter, then it leaves the door wide open for the religious wrong to force their narrow views and crackpot theories into public schools everywhere in my opinion. My girlfriend is still waiting for the Bushies to sneak faith-based crap into NCLB and this would open it up for them to do so, since they would have “legal precedent.”
[Editor’s Note: I was unable to find the original source used in the quote so I’ve linked to a reprint of the news item on the Yahoo! News service.]