Local parents and the American Civil Liberties Union urged the Springboro school board on Thursday to abandon plans to pass policies inserting creationism and other religious issues into local classrooms.
Parents, teachers and students crowded a board meeting at Springboro High School where the board sought comments on policy changes including creation and evolution in a list of controversial issues.
Lynn Greenberg said the renewed consideration of bringing creationism into classrooms was just the latest controversy diverting attention from educating Springboro students.
“We’re being defined by our issues and not our accomplishments,” said Greenberg, a parent.
Greenberg also read a press release issued Thursday by the ACLU of Ohio.
Earlier in the day, the ACLU — for the second time in two years — sent the school board a letter urging them to abandon a proposed policy listing creationism and evolution as “controversial issues” appropriate for discussion by Springboro students.
The ACLU also urged the board to abandon plans to change the board policy on Religious/Patriotic Ceremonies and Observances to allow use of materials from groups including for the National Center for Constitutional Studies, the Institute for the Constitution and Hillsdale College.
“We urge you to reconsider these policies as they will result in infringement of students’ First Amendment rights,” James Hardiman, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio, said in the letter.
In 2011, board President Kelly Kohls proposed the district offer creationism as supplemental instruction during discussions. The idea was abandoned after parents objected and the ACLU warned of legal consequences, but revived recently as part of amending the controversial issues policy.
“We want to allow people to talk about it in the classroom,” Kohls said Thursday.
In addition to creationism and evolution, the policy would add sex education, legalization of drugs, evolution/creation, pro-life/abortion, contraception/abstinence, conservatism/liberalism, politics, gun rights, global warming and climate change and sustainable development to the list of controversial issues in board policies.
The proposed change was moved for a final reading and decision at a future meeting.