Settlement in Louisiana lawsuit

There is a settlement in a Louisiana case centering on a sixth-grade teacher's advocacy of creationism. According to a March 14, 2014, press release from the American Civil Liberties Union, "[u]nder the consent decree, the school board must end official prayers during class and school events, refrain from disparaging any particular faith, and prohibit staff from teaching creationism and other biblical doctrine as fact." Marjorie Esman, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana, was quoted as saying, "No child should feel that a teacher is trying to impose religious beliefs, and this agreement ensures that this will no longer be the case at Sabine Parish schools. We're glad the school board worked with us to bring this matter to a quick and amicable resolution." The case, Lane et al. v. Sabine Parish School Board et al., was filed in January 2014; documents from the case are available from the ACLU's website.

As NCSE previously reported, the complaint in the case alleged that the teacher "treats the Bible as scientific fact, telling students that the Big Bang never happened and that evolution is a 'stupid' theory that 'stupid people made up because they don’t want to believe in God,'" tells her students, "if evolution were real, it would still be happening: Apes would still be turning into humans today," "repeatedly instructed students that evolution is not valid as a scientific theory and that God made the world 6,000 years ago," and awarded extra credit for writing "Isn't it amazing what the Lord has made" on assignments and examinations. After the administration was not responsive to complaints, the Lanes filed suit, citing a pattern of "official promotion and inculcation of religion generally, and Christianity, specifically" on the part of the district in asking for a judgment against the district.