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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Creationism in classroom won’t get teacher fired


    A north suburban school district will not fire a teacher who taught creationist beliefs about the origin of life in science classes, the superintendent said at a public meeting Tuesday night.

    The decision by Community High School District 128 came after people on both sides of the argument spoke passionately about the teaching of creationism in public schools.

    District officials said they have spoken with science teacher Beau Schaefer and confirmed that he was teaching creationist beliefs at Libertyville High School.

    Supt. Prentiss Lea said the school board is not going to take action on the teacher’s employment because the issue has been addressed and resolved.

    “”Regardless of our professional or personal opinions, in this area, there is no gray area,”” Lea said. “” The teacher in question is a long-standing D128 instructor. We will not be recommending his termination as this is remediable behavior.””

    Duncan Millar, a Libertyville parent, said he was outraged by what Schaefer has been teaching his daughter in the science classroom.

    “”What about the kids in that class that had to listen to the entire unit in evolution and they were co-taught creationism?”” Millar said at the board meeting in Vernon Hills High School. “”My daughter has been devastated by this. It is an outrage that this teacher has lost all effectiveness and all ability to teach and be retained in this district. I urge the board to determine how we can help our children and to please remove this teacher.””

    The father of a 15-year-old student of Schaefer’s said he attended the meeting with his daughter because, as a Christian, he supports Schaefer’s teachings.

    “”I feel like evolution is more or less the dominant religion in education these days,”” said Greg Krause, 40, of Grayslake. “”It was very general what he said in class. We could just as easily be offended by my daughter only being taught evolution.””

    Rob Sherman, a Buffalo Grove-based atheist activist commended the superintendent’s decision with a tongue-in-cheek response.

    “”Many times when I bring concerns to government today, they duck and dodge the debate,”” Sherman said. “”I brought a concern to you on a Monday night. And it took four days to resolve this matter. It was resolved courteously and appropriately. That’s less time than it took God to create the Earth.

    I’m here tonight because half the parents who have contacted me have said they won’t rest until this matter. The other half have said they want creationism back in the classroom.””

    Sherman said he spoke at the board meeting, representing five parents and the sibling of an Libertyville High School student, who have contacted him out of concern that their students might have been graded on their knowledge of Schaefer’s religious teachings.

    Ken Eichelberger, 71, of Grayslake and former 15-year president of District 128, said teaching creationism in science class has been going on for a while at the district.

    “”As I understand it, it has been taught that way for years. If there was no board policy to the contrary, I don’t think the teacher should be held accountable,”” Eichelberger said.

    The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that creationism is not scientific, but is a religious Christian belief that God created mankind and that it is unconstitutional to advance a particular religious belief in the classroom.

    Schaefer did not attend the meeting and has not returned requests for comments.

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