Landrum, South Carolina – A struggling Christian school has received an increase in financial support after becoming the focus of a widely-publicized controversy involving a 4th grade science quiz.
Blue Ridge Christian Academy (BRCA), a small private school nestled in the mountains of northern South Carolina, recently administered a simple science quiz to its 4th grade class. The class, according to BRCA’s website, was only attended by 15 students during the 2012-2013 semester.
However, the relatively small classroom gained giant exposure after a picture of the science quiz posted on the image-sharing site Imgur went viral, generating over 900,000 views in recent weeks. Among other items, the quiz contained the following true-or-false questions, all pertaining to the history of the world:
- The earth is billions of years old. (Correct answer = “false”)
- Dinosaurs lived millions of years ago. (Correct answer = “false”)
- Dinosaurs lived with people. (Correct answer = “true”)
The photo of the quiz was allegedly uploaded by a friend of a BRCA student’s father. According to an interview published by Snopes, the girl’s father is planning to pull her from the school next semester, due to his disappointment in the “young-earth” scientific viewpoint being taught at the school.
Not only has the picture of the science quiz been widely circulated, but hundreds have sided with the girl’s father via blogs and online comments, expressing their concern and even outrage regarding BRCA’s science curriculum. On the popular bookmark site Reddit, one commenter wrote, “This isn’t just non-science; this is Creationism apologetics. … It’s just very, very sad.” Another bluntly stated, “This should be criminal.”
Meanwhile, the faculty at BRCA continues to stand by their school’s Christian teaching of scientific material. Joy Hartsell, chair of the school’s board, told local reporters in an interview, “Our students are well versed. They know evolution. The big bang theory. They are taught what the world believes.” But, she added, “We believe the Bible and we teach from that context.”
Diana Baker, the school’s director, agreed.
“[The science quiz] was one slice of one day in our curriculum,” she said. “Our school is so much bigger than this.”
In the midst of the science quiz controversy, many Biblical Creationists have come out in strong support of BRCA’s message. Most notably among these supporters is Answers in Genesis, which is the largest Christian apologetics ministry in the world. Ken Ham and Mark Looy, co-founders of Answers in Genesis, stated in a blog post that they were “highly impressed” by how the BRCA staff have been coping with this controversy.
“We want to help this school be a good example to the entire Christian community of how all believers should defend our faith,” the men wrote. “We ask you to contact the academy through its website and offer your words of support—and also send it a donation as another means of encouragement.”
Due to the support of Answers in Genesis and other Christian organizations, BRCA has reported an uptick in financial donations in recent weeks. According to a press release obtained by the Washington Post, financial contributions—with amounts ranging from $1 to $1,000—have been coming in from across the country.
This support comes at a critical time for the school, since BRCA is facing a looming budget deficit of nearly $200,000. If conditions don’t improve, school administrators have warned that they may have to close the school.
Even though BRCA is still in dire need of financial support, school administrators are hoping this science quiz controversy will mark a turning point in the school’s history.
“It is unmistakable that our culture greatly needs well-equipped warriors for Christ,” Baker declared. “Even though the attack on the school was meant to be harmful, God has used it to provide affirmation regarding the importance of our work. We are hopeful that the recent unexpected interest in our school and in Christian Education will provide support for a future for BRCA.”