Public schools have been taking children on field trips to the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. The controversial Christian attraction denies evolution and asserts that men and dinosaurs lived together (exhibit pictured) and that the earth is only a few thousand years old.
Slate recently asked Ken Ham, the founder of the Creation Museum, if he was aware that public schools were doing field trips to his museum.
"A lot of those groups that come, I wouldn't even know who they are," he replied.
When Slate emailed the Creation Museum about rates for public school students, a museum staffer wrote that there was an "educational group rate" for school groups.
"[O]nce the requirement of 15 tickets purchased has been reached, we will provide one complimentary chaperone general admission (not including planetarium) ticket for every 10 students," the staffer added. Bus drivers also reportedly receive complimentary tickets and food vouchers at the museum.
The Brookville High School in Ohio reportedly invited students to go on a trip to the museum on April 30; the Jackson Independent School District in Kentucky posted online about a 7th grade history class going on a trip; the Beaver Falls Area School District in Pennsylvania approved a field trip; and the Southside Elementary School in Lee County, Kentucky, had gone on trips as recently as 2012.
In a April 27 press release, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) objected to public schools in three states that have made trips to the Creation Museum or are planning to take students to this "Christian homage to creationism with an explicit mission 'to point today's culture back to the authority of the Gospel and proclaim the gospel message.'"
According to the FFRF, voluntary participation by public school students in the field trips was not a legitimate defense based upon past rulings by courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court banned the teaching of "scientific creationism" in public schools.
"This is an outrageous misuse of our public schools, which exist to educate, not to miseducate and indoctrinate," Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of FFRF, said in the press release.