Local Springboro, Ohio, parents and members of the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio gathered at a school board meeting on Thursday, urging board members to abandon a new curriculum that would encourage teachers to discuss topics like the U.N. Agenda 21 Theory touted by Glenn Beck, creationism and other controversial issues.
The school board argues that its plan will teach students to think critically and identify important issues, mandating that “all sides of the issue should be given to the students in a dispassionate manner.” Under the policy, it would be impossible for students to learn about sustainable development without also being educated on the U.N. Agenda 21 theory, which conservatives believe will strip Americans from their liberties.
Other issues include global warming and climate, pro-life and abortion, legalization of drugs, evolutionism and creationism, religion when not used in a historical or factual context, and additional topics that could incite support or opposition within the community.
The ACLU noted that the school board proposed teaching creationism in 2011, but backed down after public pressure. The new policy now explicitly allows teaching creationism, which the ACLU claimed was “unconstitutional.” They warned that the school would be legally liable to bear the cost of legal expenses if a lawsuit is filed.
“School officials could find much better uses for its resources than passing an unconstitutional policy that flies in the face of their mission to educate young people and perpetuates the myth that religion and science cannot coexist.” ACLU of Ohio Legal Director James Hardiman, said.
Kelly Kohls, president of the Sprinboro City Schools board, insisted that the policy change was meant to educate students. However, parents hold little trust with Kohls, who originally proposed teaching creationism in 2011.
“I think this school board likes to play politics and likes to play games,” David Bowman, a parent, said. “This is merely a means for them to introduce their specific ideology. I don’t think they’re at all interested in teaching our kids critical thinking."