Published January 10, 2006
FRESNO, Calif. – A rural high school teaching a religion-based alternative to evolution was sued Tuesday by a group of parents who said the class should be stopped because it violates the U.S. Constitution.
Frazier Mountain High School in Lebec violated the separation of church and state while attempting to legitimize the theory of "intelligent design" by introducing it as a philosophy class taught by a minister's wife, according to the federal suit filed by parents of 13 students.
"The course was designed to advance religious theories on the origins of life, including creationism and its offshoot, 'intelligent design,"' the suit said. "Because the teacher has no scientific training, students are not provided with any critical analysis of this presentation."
The suit was filed by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which successfully blocked Dover, Pa., schools last month from using science courses to advance the theory that living things are so complex they must have been designed by a higher being.
Similar battles are being fought in Georgia and Kansas over the controversial subject.
Officials in the El Tejon Unified School District, which is a defendant in the suit, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Superintendent John Wight said last week that the class, "Philosophy of Design," was not being taught as science and was an opportunity for students to debate the controversial issue.