ACLU Again Warns Springboro School Board Against Promoting Religion in the Classroom

District Should Drop Proposed Policies Advancing Creationism

May 23, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: 212-549-2666, media@aclu.org

SPRINGBORO, Ohio – For the second time in two years, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio has sent a letter to Springboro Community City Schools officials, asking them to abandon proposed policies that advance creationism in the classroom. The Springboro Board of Education will meet tonight to discuss these policies. 

“In 2011, the Springboro school board backed away from plans to teach creationism under public pressure,” said ACLU of Ohio Staff Attorney Drew Dennis. “At the time, they claimed they were no longer pursuing the issue and called it a ‘distraction’ from more important work. Less than two years later the district has proposed a series of policies designed to integrate creationism into the school curriculum.” 

“These plans are just as unconstitutional today as they were in 2011, added Dennis. “And they remain an unnecessary distraction from the more important work of giving children the education they need to succeed in the real world.”

One of Springboro’s proposed policies formally labels evolution as a “controversial issue” and mandates the teaching of opposing viewpoints. The Supreme Court has struck down such policies as an unconstitutional attempt to insert Christian teachings on creationism into the school curriculum.

Another policy would confine individual student expression of religion to non-instructional time, while a third policy would simultaneously integrate material from outside religious groups into the school’s Constitution Day curriculum. 

“The ACLU has a long history of defending everyone’s individual right to practice the religion of their choice, or none at all,” said Dennis. “When public schools teach their preferred religious ideology as fact, it sends a message that the school supports one religion over all others. This threatens the religious freedom of everyone.”

“It’s the job of families, not public schools to educate children on spiritual values,” added Dennis. “It is irresponsible for schools to repeatedly waste resources designing these types of unconstitutional policies.”

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