Oklahoma public school under fire for field trip to out-of-state creationist zoo
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is accusing an Oklahoma school district of repeatedly violating the separation of church and state since the beginning of the 2014 school year.
The most serious allegation was that students attending Skiatook public schools were taken on school-sanctioned field trips to the Safari Zoological Park in Caney, Kansas. Despite its innocuous name, the park’s mission “is to show the awesomeness of our God in the individual wonder and uniqueness of all His creation.”
It continues by claiming that God “has revealed to us through nature and creation that we are more than an evolved matter over millions of years, but made fearfully and wonderfully in His image, with an eternal soul. That through the will of free choice man brought sin into the world, but by the love of God he redeemed man back to himself through the life, death, and resurrection of His son Jesus Christ.”
Despite this, the park is licensed with the United States Department of Agriculture and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, and regularly hosts school field trips.
According to the FFRF’s complaint, park representatives taught the Skiatook students about “God’s miracles, about how perfect God is, about the Great Flood.”
In a letter to the school district, FFRF attorney Andrew Seidel wrote that “[t]eaching creationism to students is neither educational nor legal. Courts have routinely found that creationism is religion, not science, despite many new and imaginative labels” like “Intelligent Design.”
The FFRF also contends that the Marrs Elementary school teachers lead students in prayer, as at a Veteran’s Day assembly last school year, and that teachers routinely emphasize “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, with one teacher even boldfacing the words in the copy students as young as five used to memorize it.
Watch a report on the controversy via Fox 23 below.