Thursday, July 03, 2008
Chickens, Meet Roost
Chris Comer, the former Texas Education Agency's director of science ousted in the run-up to the battle looming over this year's reworking of the state's science curriculum, has sued the Texas Education Agency and it commissioner, Robert Scott, in Federal court. A copy of the complaint and the exhibits to it can be found in a pdf file here.
Comer alleges she was told that if she did not resign she would be fired because she forwarded an e-mail from the NCSE announcing a talk to be given by Barbara Forrest. An official of the TEA wrote that Comer's action implied endorsement of a group that opposed teaching creationism in public schools, "a subject on which the agency must remain neutral."
Comer's suit is based on the fact that the Supreme Court has already decided that creationism cannot be taught in public school and to remain "neutral" on that point is, in effect, to take a position favoring those seeking to evade the law. Comer also alleges she was fired without due process. She is seeking declaratory judgments that the TEA's policy violates the Establishment clause and, therefore, her firing in accordance with such a policy also violates the First Amendment. She is also seeking injunctions reinstating her and against any further implementation of the policy. Lastly, she is seeking legal fees.
There is considerable documentation accompanying the complaint, though I haven't been able to peruse that yet.
It looks like it could be an interesting 2008 in Texas.