ACLU Protests Creationism Assemblies in the Hugoton Public Schools in Hugoton, Kansas

Affiliate: ACLU of Kansas
April 19, 2013 3:30 pm

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Kansas City, MO – This morning the ACLU Foundation of Kansas & Western Missouri and the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief e-mailed a joint letter to Mark Crawford, the Superintendent of the Hugoton Public Schools, protesting the school district’s plans to hold mandatory all-school assemblies at which a creationist organization, the Creation Truth Foundation of Noble, Oklahoma, will present its program on the “Truth about Dinosaurs.”

The United States Supreme Court and the lower federal courts have consistently held that teaching or otherwise promoting creationism is, simply put, unconstitutional. The federal courts have been unequivocally clear that efforts to inject religious beliefs regarding the origin of life into public school science curricula are constitutionally impermissible, no matter what form they may take. See, e.g., Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578, 586, 592 (1987).

In the letter e-mailed today, the ACLU asked that “the District take immediate and concrete steps to remedy these problems. The first step would be to cancel the planned mandatory school assemblies now set for next week.”

Late yesterday afternoon, the ACLU learned that the Hugoton Public Schools in Hugoton, Kansas, have invited the Creation Truth Foundation to present school assemblies and various other meetings and public events on school property next week. At least two of the assemblies will be held during regular school hours and on school property. The school assembly on Tuesday, April 23, 2013, is scheduled to be held at the high school auditorium, will be mandatory for all high school and middle school students and teachers, and will feature a presentation on dinosaurs by the Creation Truth Foundation’s founder, Dr. G. Thomas Sharp, described on the Creation Truth Foundation’s website as “a Christian educator, religious leader, businessman and author.”

Among other things, the Creation Truth Foundation produces, sells, and distributes a science curriculum, which it markets primarily to private Christian schools and home schoolers. The Creation Truth Foundation’s website describes its “Truth in Science” curriculum for third through sixth graders as follows:

The Truth in Science curriculum is designed to strengthen the student’s faith and enhance their relationship with God, while allowing them to be academically sound in the areas of science and objective reasoning. This is accomplished by combining the Truth in Science curriculum with existing textbooks to teach empirical knowledge through a secular approach while simultaneously teaching Biblical worldview and all 18 tenets of creation found in the Bible. The curriculum is designed to teach about God’s awesome creation through solid scientific principles and to help the student discern the differences between true science and gross secular speculation not supported by facts.

In its “Mobile Museum of Earth History,” the Creation Truth Foundation makes many claims about dinosaurs that are completely at odds with the view of paleontologists and other scientists. For instance, on its website, the Foundation claims that Tyrannosaurus Rex walked the Earth in recent times. “Most scientists claim that the T. rex lived over 65 million years ago. However, there is evidence that there were Tyrannosaurs living fewer than 100,000 years ago.”

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