Hurst v. Newman

On January 10, 2006, Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed a lawsuit on behalf of eleven parents against the school board, superintendent, and a teacher in the El Tejon School District in Lebec, California.

The lawsuit concerned a class at the district's high school. Several parents raised objections to the class when it was proposed to the school board in December 2005. The course description, syllabus, and materials indicated that the class would advocate creationism and intelligent design and undermine evolution education.

The course description read:

"Philosophy of Intelligent Design: This class will take a close look at evolution as a theory and will discuss the scientific, biological, and Biblical aspects that suggest why Darwin's philosophy is not rock solid. This class will discuss Intelligent Design as an alternative response to evolution. Topics that will be covered are the age of the earth, a world wide flood, dinosaurs, pre-human fossils, dating methods, DNA, radioisotopes, and geological evidence. Physical and chemical evidence will be presented suggesting the earth is thousands of years old, not billions. The class will include lecture discussions, guest speakers, and videos. The class grade will be based on a position paper in which students will support or refute the theory of evolution."

The first version of the syllabus had been presented on December 14, 2005. Ken Hurst, a geologist and parent in the school district, raised objections to the class and critiqued the syllabus. A revised syllabus was accepted by the school board.

On January 17, 2006, the El Tejon School District settled the lawsuit, agreeing to end the course early and never again offer any course "entitled ‘Philosophy of Design’ or ‘Philosophy of Intelligent Design’ or any other course that promotes or endorses creationism, creation science, or intelligent design.”

See these articles in the local paper, The Mountain Enterprise for documents and articles about the case.

All the legal documentation available to us for this case is provided at the bottom of this page. It is arranged in chronological order.

Related NCSE Articles

News: California parents sue school district over "ID" class

News: Settlement in Hurst v. Newman

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