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Evolution of a policy

OPSB bans creationism from textbooks, ESTABLISHES NEW POLICIES ON bullying


  At the Dec. 18 Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) meeting, outgoing president Thomas Robichaux floated two policy changes he unveiled in committee meetings last month: prohibit creationist and intelligent design textbooks (and teachers) from OPSB classrooms, and expand the district's anti-bullying policy. The board passed both measures without objection.

  Zack Kopplin, who campaigned to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act (which the New Orleans City Council voted symbolically to repeal in May 2011), was the only speaker on the textbook policy. "Creationism certainly is not science," he said, warning that students won't meet higher education standards — and "won't find New Orleans jobs in the biodistrict."

  A day later, Eugenie C. Scott, director of the National Center for Science Education, wrote, "With laws such as those enacted in Louisiana and Tennessee encouraging teachers to misrepresent the status of evolution and climate change, it's increasingly important for school board members and school district administrators to take the lead in ensuring that these topics are taught properly in their schools."

  Robichaux's new anti-bullying language included measures for faculty and staff to report bullying, hazing or harassment, whether personally observed or reported by an outside observer, and included disciplinary actions for faculty and staff who fail to report or act upon it — though specific disciplinary actions were not spelled out.

— Alex Woodward

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