DELTONA, Fla. — Officials at a middle school in Florida have issued an apology after parents expressed concern over a science assignment that told students that evolution is not a theory and those who would believe otherwise “are trying to mislead you.”
According to reports, an unspecified number parents of students at Heritage Middle School complained after learning that their children had been given the assignment. They state that their concern is not so much that their child was introduced to evolution, but rather that the lesson was “taking the [incalculation] rights away from the parents.”
“[T]he hair on the back of my neck stood up,” parent Jennifer Flinchum told WKMG-TV.
“Next time someone tries to tell you that evolution is just a theory, as a way of dismissing it, as if it’s just something someone guessed at, remember that they’re using the non-scientific meaning of the word,” the lesson at issue reads.
“If that person is a teacher, or minister, or some other figure of authority, they should know better,” it asserts. “In fact, they probably do, and are trying to mislead you.”
Following opposition from parents, Principal Thomas Vaughn wrote a letter to parents of all eighth grade students apologizing for the assignment and promising that the lesson would not be used again.
“Recently in 8th grade science assignment titled ‘Not just a theory,’ was distributed in an attempt to address current science standards for differentiating scientific theory and scientific law,” he wrote. “The reading does meet this criterion up until the last two sentences that state, ‘If that person is a teacher, or minister, or some other figure of authority, they should know better… In fact, they probably do, and are trying to mislead you.”
“Upon this coming to our knowledge, the lesson had been retracted,” Vaughn continued. “In fact, please know that we apologize for this resource being used and take comfort knowing that it will not be used again. At no time, is it our place to interfere with authorities of household beliefs.”
Three science teachers had used the lesson at the school and had crafted the language themselves.