2012 Indiana General Assembly

Creationism bill may not get Indiana House vote

2012-02-02T11:40:00Z 2012-02-02T18:20:34Z Creationism bill may not get Indiana House voteBy Dan Carden dan.carden@nwi.com, (317) 637-9078 nwitimes.com
February 02, 2012 11:40 am  • 

INDIANAPOLIS | A Senate-approved plan allowing public schools to teach creationism probably will not be voted on by the Republican-controlled House.

House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said he has not made a final determination on whether Senate Bill 89 will get a hearing and vote, but said he believes the General Assembly should not mandate what's taught in science classrooms.

"Delving into an issue that the United States Supreme Court has, on at least on one occasion, said is not compliant with the Constitution may be a side issue and someplace we don't need to go," Bosma said. "Parents, families have a choice on where their children go to school; it's an increasing choice now due to the legislation we passed last year."

The Republican-controlled Indiana Senate voted 28-22 this week to permit school corporations to teach "various theories of the origin of life," so long as multiple religious perspectives are presented.

The legislation has not yet been assigned to a House committee. State Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Lizton, and state Rep. Eric Turner, R-Marion, the deputy House speaker, are co-sponsors.

A spokeswoman for the Indiana Department of Education said the agency sets standards for student instruction but does not decide what is taught.

"We believe this is a local issue best left to school communities to decide," said Stephanie Sample. "We give local school leaders the flexibility necessary to use the content most appropriate for their students."

A Pennsylvania school that added creationism to its biology curriculum in 2004 later lost a federal lawsuit and had to pay $1 million in damages and legal fees to the parents who sued the school.

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