Thursday, July 03, 2008

Former Texas Science Curriculum Director Sues Over Agency Policy On Creationism

An interesting lawsuit has been filed by Christina Comer, former science curriculum director of the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Yesterday's Dallas News reports on the suit filed in federal district court in Austin. Comer was forced to resign last year after she forwarded to a number of people an e-mail announcing a presentation by an author who is critical of intelligent design and creationism proponents. (See prior posting.) Comer's supervisors took the position that Comer had violated TEA's policy to remain neutral on the issue of teaching creationism as the Agency's review of the state science curriculum approached. The complaint in Comer v. Scott, (WD TX, filed July 2, 2008) asserts in part:

By professing "neutrality," the Agency unconstitutionally credits creationism, a religious belief, as a valid scientific theory. The Agency's policy is not neutral at all, because it has the purpose or effect of inviting dispute about whether to teach creationism as science in public schools.... The Agency's "neutrality" policy violates the Establishment Clause ... because it has the purpose or effect of endorsing religion.

The complaint asserts that Comer's constitutional rights were violated when she was fired for violating TEA's unconstitutional policy, and that she was also denied due process when TEA operating procedures were not followed in her dismissal.