MARIETTA, Ga. – Complying with a judge's order, workers in Cobb County (search) have begun removing controversial evolution disclaimer stickers from science textbooks.
By the end of the day Monday, several thousand stickers, which said evolution (search) was a theory and not a fact, had been scraped off. The school district had placed 34,452 stickers on textbooks across the county.
The evolution disclaimers read: "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered."
Six parents sued to remove the stickers saying the disclaimers violated the principle of the separation of church and state. A federal judge in January agreed and ordered the stickers be removed.
An appeal by the school system is pending.
"It's a sad day in Cobb County," said Larry Taylor, a parent who favors including alternatives to evolution in science classes. "I hate to see the stickers go. I thought they were a fair compromise. But I understand they are following the judge's order. We'll just have to wait to hear what's going to happen with the appeal."
But Jeffrey Selman, who was the lead parent among a group who sued to remove the stickers, said he was glad the stickers were being removed.
"I'm optimistic, but it ain't over till it's over," Selman said. "If they win the appeal, I'll appeal higher."
But dealing with the stickers is an effort George Stickel (search), who supervises Cobb County's high school science curriculum, does not expect to have to repeat. He does not think the school system would again use disclaimers in textbooks even if it wins its appeal.
"The stickers were an attempt to bridge the gap between what we had and what we were going to have," Stickel said. Cobb County now has a policy requiring the teaching of evolution. "I feel very good about our policy."