MARIETTA, Ga. -- The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to force the Cobb County school board to remove disclaimers on evolution from thousands of middle and high school textbooks.
The suit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, just one day before the board was to discuss whether teachers should be allowed to teach faith-based ideas along with evolution as explanation for the variety of life.
The stickers, placed in new science books this month after requests from parents opposed to evolution on religious grounds, say evolution is a theory, not fact, and should be critically considered.
Jeffrey Selman, the father of an elementary school pupil, initiated the lawsuit. He said placing advisories in science texts is an attempt to inject religion into public schools.
"It singles out evolution from all the scientific theories out there," Selman said. "Why single out evolution? It has to be coming from a religious basis, and that violates the separation of church and state." [...]
"What it does is promote the establishment of creationism in public schools," Manely said. "Why are they singling out evolution? Because from a creationist's standpoint, they don't have a problem with the theory of gravity."
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Some parents in the county feel differently.
Acworth resident Bruce Horacek, whose children graduated from Cobb schools, said students are not being told of the faults in evolution. "You cannot prove or disprove that evolution or inert materials created the diversity we have," he said. "Evolution and creationism are both philosophies."
The issue appeared before the school board in March, when several dozen parents asked that alternatives be taught. They presented a petition signed by 2,000 county residents, demanding accuracy in textbooks.
The board adopted the labels, which say: "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered."
School board chairman Curt Johnston said the concerns of the community need to be considered in Thursday's meeting.
"The whole purpose of this discussion is to try to clarify what can be taught and what should be taught," Johnston said.
Similar debates have occurred elsewhere.
Ohio is considering state science requirements that would allow teaching of alternatives, including intelligent design. Kansas adopted standards that struck references to evolution, then reversed that stance after a new state board was elected in response.
In Georgia, Clayton County put evolution disclaimers in its science books in 1996, but has since removed them. Alabama put stickers on all biology books about the same time.
ACLU Sues Over Evolution Disclaimers in Textbooks
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