A conservative candidate seeking a spot on the Pinellas County School Board in Florida denies wanting to teach creationism in science class after twice calling for it to be taught “side-by-side” with evolution.
Candidate Ken Peluso, a retired chiropractor, told the Tampa Bay Times last week that he gave a “quick response without thinking” when he expressed support for creationism at a forum held by the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club.
“I think creationism and evolution should be taught side-by-side. I don’t care what classroom,” Peluso said at the forum. “If evolutionism is being taught, then creationism should be taught in contrast. Every student should know all of the facts and then decide what they believe.”
But the next day, he walked back his statements.
“In hindsight, that was probably a poor choice of words in response to a question that caught me off guard,” he told the Tampa Bay Times. “My personal beliefs have nothing to do with it.”
But the Tampa Bay Times noted Wednesday that Peluso had also endorsed the teaching of creationism at another forum hosted by the North Pinellas 9/12 group.
“I would like to follow-up on something I believe Chris mentioned, that being what was stated at Tiger Bay today,” he said. “The question was, do you believe that creationism should be taught in our schools, if so, should it be in science class, and my response was, pretty much verbatim, I don’t care what classroom it is, I think that creationism and evolution should be taught side-by-side, should be introduced for students so they can get the facts, and then they can draw their own conclusions. ”
“Yes, I was the only one who said creationism should be introduced to our students,” Peluso added.
Peluso told the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday that he misspoke at both events. The candidate said he wouldn’t advocate teaching creationism in a science class, but would support it being taught in a world religion class.
Peluso has previously served on the school board for Calvary Christian High School.
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