Creationist lawsuit dismissed in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania"For the second time in a decade, a state appeals court has told a taxpayer that he can't sue his school district because it teaches the theory of evolution in science class," reported PennLive (February 16, 2018).

In 2016, Thomas J. Harclerode filed a complaint against the Everett (Pennsylvania) Area School District Superintendent and School Board, asking the district "to stop promoting ... the theory of evolution in their [sic] curriculum or giving any credence to them [sic] as well as providing the Scientific information that refutes them [sic]."

In his complaint, Harclerode expressed distress that his taxes were used in part to teach evolution, which he described as "the unproven Century old Theory that Life began by Time and Chance and that Man is a direct descendant of a lower life form." He also alleged that the teaching of evolution is dangerous, citing the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and the German dictator Adolf Hitler as supposed examples.

The trial court dismissed his complaint on the grounds that Harclerode lacked standing. The state appeals court upheld (PDF) the dismissal because Harclerode failed to file a timely statement of errors with the trial court, although it indicated that it would have affirmed the trial court's decision on the issue of his lack of standing.

The state appeals court also observed that Harclerode's complaint was "essentially identical" (except for the warning of the dangers of evolution) to a complaint he filed in 2007, which was dismissed by the trial court on the same grounds in 2008.

Glenn Branch
Short Bio

Glenn Branch is Deputy Director of NCSE.