West Virginia's former "intelligent design" bill passes the House

West Virginia State Capitol.

West Virginia's House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 280, a bill threatening the integrity of science education in the state's public schools, on a 89-9-2 vote on March 9, 2024.

The bill provides that "[n]o public school board, school superintendent, or school principal may prohibit a public school classroom teacher from discussing or answering questions from students about scientific theories of how the universe and/or life came to exist."

But as originally introduced, Senate Bill 280 provided that "[t]eachers in public schools, including public charter schools, that include any one or more of grades kindergarten through 12, may teach intelligent design as a theory of how the universe and/or humanity came to exist."

Despite the revision, the bill's lead sponsor, Amy Grady (R-District 4), declared that the revised bill still would protect the teaching of "intelligent design," according to West Virginia Watch (January 23, 2024).

The National Science Teachers Association warned (PDF), "Enacting SB 280 would engender significant confusion about what West Virginia's public school teachers are allowed to teach, potentially leading to litigation," as NCSE previously reported.

Having already passed the Senate on a 31-2 vote on January 23, 2024, Senate Bill 280 is now presumably headed for the desk of Governor Jim Justice.

Glenn Branch
Short Bio

Glenn Branch is Deputy Director of NCSE.