After a school board meeting on Tuesday, one Ohio school district is still considering adding creationism to its curriculum, despite criticism from students, teachers and civil liberties advocates.
The addition of creationism, which would be part of a larger “controversial issues” initiative, was first introduced by the Springboro school board in May. While the proposal received support from local tea partyers, it was greeted with hostility from community members and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
"I want to allow that discussion to happen," said Kohls. "We're going to leave it on first reading for quite a while."
According to local outlet WDTN-TV, the board meeting was filled with community members who voiced their objections to the proposal.
"It's not fair that you would teach or have a teacher give their opinion on creationism because it's such a subjective thing,” said former Springboro student Jacob Crosen in a WDTN video. “You can't give an objective viewpoint on any of them and, ultimately, I don't feel like any of the people here are prepared or educated enough to give that.”
"None of the teachers have been talked to about this," said teacher and union representative Sarah Thornberry, according to the Associated Press. "Please keep it out of the science classroom."
Some see the proposal of as an unwanted distraction from the more pressing issue of teacher contract negotiations, which are currently underway, per WDTN-TV. If a compromise isn’t reached during negotiations, teachers may go on a 10-day strike.
The ACLU penned a letter to the district last month, asking that the proposal be dropped from the board's agenda. “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,” ACLU of Ohio staff attorney Drew Dennis said in the letter.
The board attempted to add creationism to the district’s curriculum in 2011. However, that proposal failed due to public opposition.