A Pennsylvania school district sued by the ACLU for a controversial change to its biology curriculum sought judgment in its favor in federal court.

The Dover Area School District, represented by the Thomas More Law Center, became the first in the nation officially to inform biology students of the theory of intelligent design as an alternative to Darwin’s theory of Evolution.

The new policy requires teachers to read a one-minute statement at the beginning of biology classes explaining evolution is a theory that continues to be tested and informing students of alternatives.

As WorldNetDaily reported, the American Civil Liberties Union is challenging the new policy in a federal lawsuit, although it decided not to go forward with a request for a temporary restraining order to block its implementation at the beginning of the school term this year.

Teachers said they would not read the required statement, but the assistant superintendent carried out the reading Jan. 26 to two biology classes at Dover High School.
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The school provided an opt-out, allowing students to join teachers in the hall outside the classroom when the statement was being read, but only 15 out of 170 made that choice.

The Thomas More Law Center, which filed papers in federal court Thursday, said that contrary to many press accounts, the school district is not teaching intelligent design, creationism or religious doctrine in its biology class, as its policy expressly forbids that.

The school district is teaching the Darwinian theory of evolution pursuant to state standards, insists Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel for the Law Center.

“This minor change to Dover’s science curriculum was simply a modest step by a small-town school board to improve the science education of its students,” he said. “This controversy is nothing more than a tempest in a teapot.”

Thompson said the America’s founders “would be astonished at the thought that this simple curriculum change ‘established religion’ in violation of the Constitution that they drafted.”

The ACLU, along with Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, filed the lawsuit in December arguing intelligent design theory is inherently religious.

“It is ironic that the ACLU after having worked so hard to prevent the suppression of Darwin’s theory in the Scopes trial, is now doing everything it can to suppress any effort to challenge it,” said Thompson.

Related stories:

Students told about intelligent design

Teachers refuse intelligent-design policy

ACLU backs off challenge to intelligent design

PBS station cancels intelligent-design film

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