Freiler v. Tangipahoa Parish Board of Education

AU's Role: 
AU's Involvement Began: 
August 1997
Status: 

In August, 1997, a federal district court struck down a school board policy that required teachers to recite a disclaimer before evolution lessons. The disclaimer stated that evolution is a "theory" that was being "presented to inform students of the scientific concept and not intended to influence or dissuade the Biblical version of Creation of any other concept." The district court found that the disclaimer lacked a secular purpose and resulted in the board’s endorsement of religious creationism theories. On appeal, AU joined on an amicus brief in support of the lower court decision. A panel of the Fifth Circuit affirmed, holding that the disclaimer advanced a primarily secular purpose but that it had a principally religious effect. On January 24, 2000, the full Fifth Circuit denied rehearing en banc, but seven of its fifteen judges filed a dissenting opinion on the denial, opining that the court should have granted rehearing and reversed the panel decision. The U.S. Supreme Court subsequently declined to review the case.

Most Recent Developments: