Some students in Louisiana literally use the Bible as their science textbook, according to recently obtained records.
State law permits teachers to promote classroom discussion on evolution, but critics say the Louisiana Science Education Act allows creationism to be taught in public schools.
That’s exactly what has happened in the Bossier Parish school district, where emails obtained by Slate as part of a public records request show that students read the Book of Genesis to learn creationism in biology class.
“We will read in Genesis and them [sic] some supplemental material debunking various aspects of evolution from which the students will present,” said Shawna Creamer, a science teacher at Airline High School in an email to Principal Jason Rowland.
A teacher at Caddo Parish schools wrote a newspaper column saying that her job is to present both evolution and creationism.
“God made science,” wrote fifth-grade teacher Charlotte Hinson.
While one parent complained to the principal that another teacher Cindy Tolliver, was “pushing her twisted religious beliefs onto the class,” another praised biology teacher Michael Stacy because he “discussed evolution and creationism in a full spectrum of thought.”
Although the state law, passed in 2008, allows science teachers to introduce supplemental materials to “critique” scientific theories – lessons on creationism are still illegal under federal law.
The emails reveal that some schools are also violating prohibitions on teacher-led prayer in school.
“Bossier [school district] has it’s [sic] problems but there are so many awesome Christians from the top down,” wrote teacher Carolyn Goodwin. “We pray at school functions and probably break the law all the time!!”
Lawmakers shot down a measure in April to repeal the education law, the fifth unsuccessful attempt to do so since 2010.