Puny school district may step up to monkey-trial plate
A news article said,
Weed, Calif. --
Butteville Union Elementary School District trustees, as well as school administrators, are considering adding “intelligent design” to the school’s seventh-grade science curriculum.
In a discussion on an information/action agenda item, “Evolution versus Intelligent Design Taught in the Classroom,” during the district’s board meeting last Wednesday, trustees agreed to seek legal counsel regarding the issue.
“I think this will be a big issue in the Supreme Court before long,” said board president Stephen Darger, a practicing attorney and former police officer. “Maybe it will be with this school.”
It is a rural school district with just one elementary school with only 152 students in grades K-8 and just 9 full-time classroom teachers.
As the saying goes, if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it, but the school district is not even asking the price of a monkey trial, because school funds could not be used to fund legal counsel:
Hart also reported that he has been in contact with an attorney from Redding and suggested that board members seek advise (sic) as to legal ramifications. It was also reported that school funds could not fund either legal counsel or the proposed program.
Of course, the school district could probably get pro bono legal representation, but there would also be the risk of an award of attorney fees to the plaintiffs. Maybe being so poor is an advantage -- the school district may be too poor to be worth a lawsuit by the ACLU et al.. You can't squeeze blood out of a turnip.
The article says,
School principal and superintendent Cynthia McConnell reported that teachers would not be legally required to teach intelligent design, or anything other than state education requirements.
Here are some options for the school district:
(1) Make the curriculum addition "lawsuit-proof" by calling it "strengths and weaknesses" or "teach the controversy" instead of "intelligent design."
(2) Just add an evolution disclaimer, which is much easier to defend than actually teaching criticisms of Darwinism. Two decisions against evolution disclaimers, Selman v. Cobb County and Freiler v. Tangipahoa Parish, came close to being overturned.
A lot of people are hungry for another public school monkey trial that would hopefully overturn or counteract the infamous Kitzmiller v. Dover decision, which has been used for more than 2½ years to browbeat critics of Darwinism, even though it is just an unappealed decision of a single crackpot judge who said in a commencement speech that organized religions are not "true" religions and who copied the opinion's ~ 6000-word ID-as-science section nearly verbatim from the ACLU's opening post-trial brief. IMO the reason why no new monkey-trial lawsuits have been filed in the 2½+ years since the Dover decision is that school districts and legislatures have learned how to "lawsuit-proof" criticisms of evolution in the public schools.
One of my posts here has recommendations for monkey-trial defendants. This blog also has lots of other posts with information and ideas that could be useful to monkey-trial defendants -- just see appropriate post labels in the sidebar.
BTW, there are some errors in the news article. The article said,
. . .two rural California public high schools contended that the Pennsylvania ruling by Judge John E. Jones, an appointee of President Bush, opened the door to the possibility of teaching intelligent design in philosophy or religion classes.
But the new strategy was immediately struck down when a high school in Lebec, Calif., a rural town north of Los Angeles, terminated one such course as part of a court settlement involving 11 law suits. As a result, a hearing scheduled before a federal judge in upcoming days was cancelled.
In a similar case just days later Frazier Mountain High, a rural school district outside of Fresno, with pressure from lawsuits and Americans United, settled the issue with the agreement to halt its intelligent design course and to never again offer a class that promotes creationism.
There was only one lawsuit, Hurst v. Newman, which had 11 plaintiffs (that's probably where the number "11' came from). Lebec and Frazier Mountain High School are both in the El Tejon Unified School District just north of Los Angeles County, in the southern end of Kern County.
Also, it's Edwards v. Aguillard, not Aguillar.