Roseville, CA Pacific Justice Institute has joined a federal lawsuit filed by a local parent who has endured intense opposition and unlawful tactics from school officials after he proposed a more objective policy for teaching evolution in the classroom.
In an effort to restore balance and scientific soundness to science education, Larry Caldwell acted on his right under the First Amendment and California law to be involved in local curriculum decisions by proposing a Quality Science Education Policy. This proposed policy simply states that because scientific theories are constantly subject to change, they should not be taught dogmatically. Instead, teachers should “help students analyze the scientific strengths and weaknesses of existing scientific theories, including the theory of evolution.
This common-sense policy, even though derived from a California State Board of Education Policy on the Teaching of Natural Sciences, and endorsed by respected scientists, prompted local school officials to launch an aggressive, mean-spirited campaign against Mr. Caldwell. For over a year, school officials continually denied him a fair hearing on his proposal, in clear violation of California and federal law, denied other parents the right to speak in favor of the proposal and launched personal attacks. Mr. Caldwell commented, I tried to exercise my basic rights as a citizen to propose a new idea, and school officials responded by suspending normal procedures, publicly attacking my personal religious beliefs, and even threatening to sue me to stop me from speaking out.
After months of frustration and game-playing by school officials, Mr. Caldwell, who is also an attorney, filed a lawsuit to protect the rights of all parents to be involved in their childrens education. Pacific Justice has joined the case as co-counsel and will expend every effort necessary to ensure that local school officials are held accountable when they do not comply with the law.
Parents remain the first and foremost authorities in their childrens education, stated Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute. We will not stand idly by while school officials illegally ignore badly-needed, common-sense proposals to improve our educational system.