Dover School District Seeks Judgment Against ACLU in Evolution Case

ANN ARBOR, MI — The Dover Area School District, Dover, PA, represented by the Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, filed papers with the federal court last week, asking the judge to rule in their favor in a lawsuit brought by the ACLU. The ACLU is challenging a recent change to the school district’s ninth-grade biology curriculum, which, in a one-minute statement, informs students that there are gaps and problems in the theory of evolution and makes students aware of intelligent design as an alternative explanation for the origins and diversification of life.

Contrary to many press accounts, the school district is not teaching intelligent design, creationism, or religious doctrine in its biology class — its policy expressly forbids that. Rather, the school district is teaching the Darwinian theory of evolution pursuant to state standards.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel for the Law Center, stated, “This minor change to Dover’s science curriculum was simply a modest step by a small-town school board to improve the science education of its students. This controversy is nothing more than a tempest in a teapot. The Founders of this country would be astonished at the thought that this simple curriculum change ‘established religion’ in violation of the Constitution that they drafted.”

In December, the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State sued the school district on behalf of several Dover area parents.

According to Robert Muise, trial counsel with the Law Center, “The ACLU has used the Establishment Clause to remove from public life anything that they perceive to be favorable to religion, including prayer, the Ten Commandments, Nativity scenes, and other symbols associated with religion. Now, they seek to employ this constitutional provision to silence criticism of the theory of evolution and to prevent students from learning about alternatives to Darwin’s theory, including preventing students from simply being told that such alternatives exist. Even the recent Supreme Court interpretations of the Constitution, which tend to be hostile to religion, do not go this far.”

The Thomas More Law Center defends and promotes the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life through education, litigation, and related activities. It does not charge for its services. The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization. You may reach the Thomas More Law Center at (734) 827-2001 or visit their website at

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