FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LITTLE ROCK, AR --The American Civil Liberties Union today applauded the Beebe School District for formally voting to remove the stickers it had placed in science textbooks undermining the validity of evolution and introducing the religious concept of an "intelligent designer" behind the origin of life.
Tuesday night, July 12, the school board voted three to two to remove the stickers, overcoming concerns about the cost of a lawsuit that might be filed by the ACLU and potential difficulties in monitoring how teachers might present intelligent design.
"We commend the Beebe School District for officially agreeing to remove the stickers, and avoiding unnecessary and costly litigation in this matter," said Rita Sklar, Executive Director of the ACLU of Arkansas. "However, we are concerned that these stickers may be present in textbooks around the state, as they are the latest attempt to undermine science and bring creationism back into public schools." The National Center for Science in Education was instrumental in planning to remove the stickers, said Sklar.
The Beebe stickers, which carry the headline "A MESSAGE FROM THE BEEBE SCHOOL BOARD," describe evolution as a "controversial theory" and go on to suggest that "evolution alone is not adequate to explain the origins of life." The stickers specifically name an "intelligent designer" as a possible source for those origins.
In its letter to the school district, the ACLU cited the recent decision in the federal lawsuit, Selman v. Cobb. County School District, which held that similar stickers in Georgia textbooks violate the First Amendment. The ACLU said that the stickers used by the Beebe School District go much further than the three-line Cobb County disclaimer, because they specifically reference an "intelligent designer," which is a religious concept.
Information on frequently asked questions about intelligent design is available on line at: /node/20554.