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Louisiana Rejects Evolution Disclaimer

On December 12 the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) voted 7-3 not to require biology textbooks to include an evolution "disclaimer". Opponents of evolution education had proposed that Louisiana require a version of the disclaimer placed in all Alabama biology texts since 1996. Alabama remains the only state with such a requirement.

According to an Associated Press report of the December 12 BESE meeting, "The board room was packed with backers of the proposal, who tried only a couple of times to interrupt the proceedings with shouts." A representative of Louisiana Family Forum spoke in favor of a disclaimer. The proposal was opposed by the Louisiana American Civil Liberties Union.

A committee of the Board had voted on December 10 to require a disclaimer singling out evolution as "only a theory" in new textbooks which the state is adopting. The Student and School Standards/Instruction Committee approved the measure during a session described as “contentious.”

“I don’t believe I evolved from some primate,” declared board member Jim Stafford. However, other board members spoke against the proposal. Board president Paul Pastorek said, “I am not prepared to go back to the dark ages,” and said he would oppose the measure.

For more details of the committee meeting, see this December 11 article in The Advocate. {link expired}