Classroom controversy: creationism vs. evolution

Published: Feb. 24, 2014 at 10:19 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 10, 2014 at 9:19 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The Caddo Parish School Board is investigating an elementary school teacher to determine if the law is being broken.

In an open letter to a local newspaper, Eden Garden Elementary School fifth grade teacher Charlotte Hinson responded to an article about science, religion, and classrooms. In the letter, she says she disagrees with the authors' views on the topic, and goes on to say that when asked by students about creationism and evolution, she provides insight on both topics, but all in hopes of not disturbing what the children are being taught to believe by their parents.

The American Civil Liberties Union responded to those views by writing an open letter to the Caddo Parish School Board requesting an investigation of Hinson's teaching methods, saying "Ms. Hinson affirms that her goal is not to teach evolution, but to present both creationism and evolution without disturbing her students' personal beliefs."

In the letter, ACLU of Louisiana Executive Director Marjorie Esman points to a 1987 Supreme Court opinion striking down a Louisiana law mandating that public school give equal time to teaching creationism and evolution. "It has long been established that public school teachers may not present creationism as an alternative to evolution and let students choose what they want to believe."

Virginia Ask has a child at Eden Garden Elementary school where Hinson teaches. "As a teacher, she should be able to present both sides," Ask says. "but not favoring one over the other."

The Caddo Parish School Board  released a statement Monday evening saying, "Caddo follows the directives of the U. S. Supreme Court.  Teachers are suppose [sic] to follow the established curriculum of Caddo Parish.  Caddo will review the appropriate method of instruction with the teacher and make sure she complies with the curriculum and the law."

A copy of the open letter from the ACLU can be found here.

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