On April 19, 1994, the school board of Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana voted to require its teachers to read a "disclaimer" before discussing the subject of evolution. This disclaimer read:
It is hereby recognized by the Tangipahoa Board of Education, that the lesson to be presented, regarding the origin of life and matter, is known as the Scientific Theory of Evolution and should be presented to inform students of the scientific concept and not intended to influence or dissuade the Biblical version of Creation or any other concept.
It is further recognized by the Board of Education that it is the basic right and privilege of each student to form his/her own opinion and maintain beliefs taught by parents on this very important matter of the origin of life and matter. Students are urged to exercise critical thinking and gather all information possible and closely examine each alternative toward forming an opinion.
Three parents of Tangipahoa students filed suit, and on August 8, 1997, District Judge Marcel Livaudais ruled that the disclaimer was unconstitutional. The school board appealed, but a Fifth Circuit appeals panel upheld the district ruling on August 13, 1999 and the circuit denied a petition for rehearing en banc on January 24 of the following year. The Supreme Court declined to review the case on June 19, 2000; Justices Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas dissented from this decision.
All the legal documentation available to us for this case is provided at the bottom of this page. It is arranged in chronological order.