Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Full Court Press
John Freshwater, in a move that will surprise no one, has sued the Mount Vernon City School District for various violations of his constitutional rights, including freedom of speech.
A quick skim of the complaint shows that he is alleging pretty much the same claims he's made during the course of the administrative hearings as documented by Richard B. Hoppe at The Panda's Thumb.
Some interesting things that Richard may have mentioned but I missed are claims that the Board had a policy allowing religious and moral references in "instructional and resource materials approved for use in the District's schools" to be employed by teachers as long as they are "neutral" in their approach to them. It's not clear if he is claiming that his creationist handouts and an extra credit assignment involving Expelled fit under that provision.
The suit may also be claiming that teaching creationism and the project involving Expelled fits under the curriculum's requirement of explaining the importance of reproducibility and the reduction of bias in science.
I'm hoping to have an OCRed pdf file of the complaint tomorrow and anyone who wants a copy should leave an email address in the comments.
Defendant Board's policy concerning and titled, "Religion in the Classroom" further states in part:
"The Board acknowledges the degree to which a religious consciousness has permeated the arts, literature, music, and issues of morality. The instructional and resource materials approved for use in the District's schools frequently contain religious references or concern moral issues that have traditionally been the focus of religious concern. That such materials may be religious in nature shall not, by itself, bar their use in the District. The Board directs that professional staff members employing such materials be neutral in their approach and avoid using them to advance or inhibit religion in any way."