Springboro’s debate over introducing creationism into local classrooms will continue.
Despite a series of calls Tuesday to end the idea, the board left up for future discussion at board meetings a proposed policy change including creationism in a list of controversial issues that would be appropriate for school discussion.
“I want to allow that discussion to happen,” Board President Kelly Kohls said. “We’re going to leave it on first reading for quite a while.”
Before leaving it as a discussion item, the board heard more critical comments from parents, teachers and other residents.
“None of the teachers have been talked to about this. Please leave it out of the science classroom,” said Sarah Thornbery, a teacher, school libraian and union representative.
Parent Lisa Babb also urged the board to set aside the proposal to avoid the controversy and national media attention it has sparked.
“I’d like to challenge the board to stop the distractions,” said Babb, a former board candidate.
The criticism continued from the previous meeting on May 23. In addition to local opposition, the ACLU of Ohio and Freedom from Religion Foundation have warned the board against making the change.
Most Ohio school districts have policies regarding controversial issues, but none surveyed by the Dayton Daily News named creationism among issues to be handled through the policy.
In 2011, Kohls suggested creationism be added as supplemental curriculum in the district, sparking protests at the local level and from the ACLU and the Freedom from Religion Foundation. Earlier this year the board’s policy committee included creationism in a list of controversial topics also including evolution, legalization of drugs, pro-life/abortion, contraception/abstinence, gun rights, global warming, climate change and sustainable development.
The board also was criticized for a proposed policy change that calls for inclusion of materials from groups — seen as religious by opponents – during Constitution Day activities. One of the groups, the National Center for Constitutional Studies, advocates a “preferred status” for religion among American civil rights.
“These policies violate constitutional principles,” Rebecca Markert, staff attorney for the Freedom from Religion Foundation, said in a letter mailed to Springboro Tuesday. “We urge the board to reject them.”
Also Tuesday, an email newsletter from the Warren County Tea Party urged supporters to write letters to the Springboro district supporting the controversial issues policy change.
“Will you stand up for our children by telling education it is right to teach students that man-made global warming, evolution and many other topics are controversial, and there are at least two sides, and they must question the resources,” the newsletter said. Kohls also heads the local tea party.