Hat tip to Sisyphus for this completely disturbing report from the Columbus Dispatch about John Freshwater, an 8th grade “science” teacher in Mount Vernon, OH who, according to an investigation as reported by the Dispatch:
undermined science instruction in the public school district by discrediting evolution in his classroom and focusing on creationism and intelligent design.
told his class that homosexuality is a sin.
burned crosses onto students’ arms, using an electrostatic device,
he was insubordinate for failing to remove the Bible and other religious materials from his classroom.
The real stunner? This went on for 11 years! Who was asleep at the wheel in Mount Vernon?
The Dispatch also reports that The family of one student who was burned filed a federal lawsuit last week against Freshwater and the district, saying the student’s civil rights were violated.
The student’s civil rights were violated? You think?
What happens when the above situation becomes, if not encouraged, at least much more plausible when the state enacts something like Louisiana did this week. Another hat tip, this one to DarkSyde at dailyKos for posting what I feared would happen with this and an interesting commentary on it:
Louisiana’s Governor Bobby Jindal signed Senate Bill 733 into law, 27 years after the state passed its Balance Treatment for Evolution-Science and Creation-Science Act … Jindal’s approval of the bill was buried in a press release issued on June 25, 2008 …Houma Today reports (June 27, 2008) that the bill “will empower educators to pull religious beliefs into topics like evolution, cloning and global warming by introducing supplemental materials.”
This, in and of itself, undermines the claim to secular purpose. Evolution is no more scientifically controversial than gravity, and Governor Jindal surely knows that — he graduated from Brown University with honors in biology. His own biology professor reminded him recently that “Without evolution, modern biology, including medicine and biotechnology, wouldn’t make sense. In order for today’s students in Louisiana to succeed in college and beyond, … they need a solid grounding in genetics and evolution.”
Another sham is the claim of bill supporters that this bill isn’t about creationism was put to the lie early on, when supporter David Tate, a member of the Livingston Parish school board, told the New Orleans Times-Picayune “I believe that both sides — the creationism side and the evolution side — should be presented and let students decide what they believe.” He added that the bill was necessary because “teachers are scared to talk about” creationism, but didn’t mention whether they were similarly scared about discussing astrology or the belief that babies come from storks, not sex. An anti-abortion news site crowed that, thanks to Jindal’s signature “Louisiana public school teachers can now educate their students about the theory of intelligent design,” a practice ruled unconstitutional in both 1987 and again in 2005.
I wrote and phoned Governor Jindal’s office offering my opinon that he shouldn’t have signed Bill 733. I guess he didn’t listen to me. Perhaps I should send him a copy of On The Origin of Species for Christmas?