A Decade Later, This is the 500-Page Creationism Book a Public School Biology Teacher Gave His Students

For 15 years, high school biology teacher Larry Booher gave his Biology 2 students an extra credit assignment. All they had to do was read a 500-page book that Booher had compiled from a variety of sources… all of which pointed to Creationism as the way we came to be. It was awful science to begin with, but the fact that a public school teacher was advocating it made it completely illegal.

In all that time, no one complained about the book. Why not? Maybe because John S. Battle High School was in Bristol, Virginia and pretty much everyone you knew was a Christian. But that shouldn’t have mattered.

In 2005, administrators in the district received an “anonymous tip” about what Booher was doing. Ultimately, they forced him to stop distributing his book. And that was it. A slap on the wrist. He continued teaching for several years before finally retiring.

“He told the students, ‘You may read this. You don’t have to. It has some Bible references in it,'” Washington County School Superintendent Alan Lee said Thursday. “This teacher felt like he wasn’t doing anything wrong.”

The superintendent declined to say what punishment, if any, Booher would face, calling it a personnel matter. But he said the 48-year-old Booher was “one of the finest science teachers I’ve ever been around” and would return to the classroom in the fall after he agreed to stop distributing the creationism materials.

“He must teach evolution exclusively — observable scientific fact, not beliefs or religion,” Lee said. “I fully believe he will comply. He just stepped over the line.”

Keep in mind: this all happened just months before the verdict in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, a case about teaching Intelligent Design in public schools. Creationism was a major topic of discussion and the Associated Press story about Booher (along with similar reports) made the rounds throughout the media.

So why do I bring all this up now?

Because I’ve been in contact with the “anonymous” tipster who outed Booher in 2005 — and I now possess a scanned copy of the 500-page Creationism booklet.

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This High School Principal Initially Rejected an Atheist Club, but He Deserves Praise for How He Handled the Situation

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: A high school student wants to form an atheist club. The administration tells him no.

Often, this ends in one of two ways: The student backs down, not wanting to get in any trouble, or the student informs a group like the Secular Student Alliance and it begins a long drawn-out battle (see: Pisgah High School).

But at Central High School in Aberdeen, South Dakota, there was a happy ending.

Adam, a student at the school, was told by Principal Jason Uttermark a few weeks ago that he couldn’t form an atheist club because the district had a policy against allowing any sort of religious club. After Adam informed the SSA about this, they contacted the principal:

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After School District Pushes Creationism, Jesus, & the Bible on Students, a Buddhist Family Finally Prevails in Court

A few months ago, the Sabine Parish School District in Louisiana was sued by the state’s ACLU because of its “long history of proselytizing students and promoting religion.” The laundry list of complaints at Negreet High School alone was enough to make your jaw drop:

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500"]A picture of Jesus in one of the Sabine Parish schools[/caption]

This all came to light thanks to the courage of plaintiffs Scott and Sharon Lane and their five brave children, including sixth grader C.C., a “Buddhist of Thai heritage” who doesn’t believe in God.

[C.C.’s] science teacher, Rita Roark, repeatedly taught students that the Earth was created by God 6,000 years ago, that evolution is “impossible,” and that the Bible is “100 percent true.”

Roark also regularly features religious questions on her tests such as “ISN’T IT AMAZING WHAT THE _____________ HAS MADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” When C.C. did not write in Roark’s expected answer, “LORD,” she belittled him in front of the rest of the class. While studying other religions, Roark has told students that Buddhism is “stupid.”

When Plaintiffs objected, Sabine Parish Superintendent, Sara Ebarb, told them that “this is the Bible belt.” She suggested that C.C. should “change” his faith or transfer to another district school 25 miles away where, in her words, “there are more Asians.”

These weren’t just isolated incidents either:

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After Former Students Say They Were Sexually Assaulted on Campus, Christian College Accuses Them (!) of Harassment

Pensacola Christian College, one of the most conservative Christian campuses in the country, has a problem. (In addition to all of their other problems, I mean.)

Like other fundamentalist institutions, they’re brushing off reports of sexual assault on their campus basically saying those things didn’t happen, have never happened, and never would happen.

In this case, the story begins at Fred Clark‘s site with a guest post by Samantha Field, a former Pensacola Christian College student who suffered through her own assaults and now tells the stories of two of her peers:

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Proposed Constitutional Amendment in Alaska Could See Taxpayer Money Going to Religious Schools

Alaska’s Constitution currently requires that, when it comes to public education, taxpayer funds cannot benefit private or religious schools. Makes perfect sense. Public funds should benefit the public, not help schools that thrive on donors and indoctrination.

However, a new bill could eliminate that provision, opening the door to public funding of religious education. Senate Joint Resolution No. 9 would remove the clause forbidding the funding of private and religious schools:

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