Libertyville’s Creationist Science Teacher Keeps Job and Receives ‘Remediation’

My thoughts on Libertyville High School’s Creationist science teacher are now up on the Chicago Tribune‘s Seeker blog.

Here’s the opening:

Beau Schaefer, a science teacher at Libertyville High School, has learned the punishment for preaching creationism in the classroom:

Nothing.

After a school board meeting Tuesday night in which both sides of the evolution debate — the side that understands science and the side supporting Schaefer — made their cases, the end result was that nothing happened.

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

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

If you have comments, please leave them at the Tribune‘s website!

  • http://www.kidkaos.us Kid Kaos

    Remediable behavior it may be but will they actually take any action to remediate? Probably not.in all likelihood they will say don’t do it again {wink wink} and hope it all blows over. What would happen to a science teacher who stated to their class that “god does not exist and there is no place for religion in science?” They would likey be fired for religious intolerance.

  • Parse

    Personally, I would prefer that Mr. Schaefer be seeking employment at private Christian schools now. Just like we don’t need rules like “Don’t repeat ‘The Aristocrats’ joke in the classroom”, we shouldn’t need rules like “Don’t teach creationism in the classroom.”

    I’d give him two years tops before he starts teaching creationism again – if he even stops at all. After all, next year he’ll have new students, and will just do stuff like collecting handouts and ‘Here!’

  • Rieux

    I’m not so sure this was the wrong decision for the school board.

    Anyone who has paid attention to the endless embroglio over the firing of Ohio science teacher John Freshwater (who was canned for teaching creationism, among other bizarre misconduct) is aware that firing a teacher on these kinds of grounds can be an unbelievably messy and expensive process. And from what little I’ve read, it sounds to me like the Libertyville school administration has a lot less evidence of wrongdoing on Schaefer’s part than Freshwater’s superiors have on him.

    There are significant and complicated contractual and legal issues involved here; I don’t know what Schaefer’s contract looks like, but quite possibly the school district has to make some really heavy and extensive factual showings before the law will allow them to pink-slip him.

    Those of us who loudly oppose the teaching of creationism in public schools frequently point out that school boards endorsing such conduct set themselves up for overwhelmingly costly lawsuits, wasting huge quantities of public funds. It seems to me fairly likely that the Libertyville board decided not to can Schaefer out of a very similar concern; by merely reprimanding him, they run much less risk of touching off a huge and nasty lawsuit.

    From the board’s perspective, I’m sure they’re hoping that Schaefer takes the reprimand and doesn’t cause any problems in the future. Even if the guy crosses the line again, though, the very existence of the Spring 2011 reprimand will give the board a stronger case to fire him the next time.

  • Anonymous

    Manya Brachear comes through again.

  • Josh Evolved

    I think that since this was the first infraction that not terminating him was an okay call. Though he should have at least been suspended without pay for a week or two.

    He does need to be closely watched and if he tries teaching, or even mentions, creationism again then he should be terminated.

  • JD

    Teachers are often well protected from the repercussions of their own misconduct, but that varies by state and varies by how much a district is willing to push through the process. This teacher might have known this from the outset. Unless they make clear what the punishment was, I’m going to assume there wasn’t one.

  • CanadianNihilist

    He’s certainly not qualified to be a science teacher, but I can see it getting ugly if they were to fire him. I’m going to jump on the unpaid suspension wagon.
    Although it’s too late now.

  • dwasifar

    I followed the link to the Trib, and from there to the PDFs of the teacher’s handouts.

    It’s bad enough that he was teaching creationism, but apparently he was pushing Lamarckian genetics as well.

    This guy couldn’t be more unqualified to teach a science class even if he were caught teaching the four-element theory. It’s disgraceful that he was ever even hired, let alone allowed to keep his job now.

  • Corey Mondello

    Private school supporters would like to allow non-certified folks to be able to teach. Seems to me, at the rate we are going, the more tax money taken from public schools and given to private religious schools, the more jobs will be available for teachers who teach creationism and that the USA is a Christian Nation. Wow…a whole country of Michelle Bachmanns…….

  • Aaron

    I like how they call evolution a religion. It’s NOT. Are they next going to start calling belief in gravity and physics a religion?


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