Thanks to the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, a California science teacher will not be allowed to continue teaching creationism.
The groups sent a letter that sparked an investigation by the Lucia Mar Unified School District into the creationist teachings of science teacher Brandon Pettenger at Arroyo Grande High School. FFRF received word today that the district directed Pettenger to stop teaching creationism.
In an email to FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Chuck Fiorentino reported that he and the school principal met with Pettenger last Thursday, April 23, and directed him "to immediately cease using [creationist materials] and not to instruct at all on the topics of creationism, intelligent design, or anything related." They also told Pettenger he could only teach state-adopted science standards, and that anything outside those standards needed pre-approval. Creationist information was also removed from Pettenger's school webpage.
In addition, the district "will be reminding all teachers of their legal obligation to teach only material that is in the State adopted Standard, or Curriculum, or Board approved."
Seidel called the response a "solid victory" for state/church separation.
"We are very pleased with the swift response of the school district on this important matter, and are glad they are taking strong measures to take inappropriate religious teachings out of science class," added FFRF Co-President Dan Barker.
"We also applaud the anonymous student for taking the courageous step to get involved," said RDFRS CEO Robyn Blumner. "That student helped bring evidence-based science back into a public school classroom hijacked by religious teachings."
FFRF is a state/church watchdog with 22,500 nonreligious members across the country, including over 3,250 in California. RDFRS ensures that science education and public policy remain secular and works to eliminate the stigma surrounding atheism and nonbelief.