Returning to normal in Dover


With the decision in Kitzmiller v. Dover rendered, the town of Dover, Pennsylvania, seems to be returning to normal. In its meeting on January 4, 2006, the Dover Area School Board voted 7-1 not to appeal the decision. The board also voted 8-0 to rescind the change to the district's ninth-grade biology curriculum, requiring that "[s]tudents will be made aware of gaps/problems in Darwin's Theory and of other theories of evolution including, but not limited to, intelligent design," that prompted the lawsuit.

The sole vote against appealing the decision was that of Heather Geesey, the only current member of the board to have been on the board when the change was enacted. Although Geesey initially supported the change, the York Daily Record (January 4, 2006) reported that she was silent during the vote to rescind it, and her silence was accordingly counted by the board's secretary as a vote in favor of the motion.

Geesey is the sole supporter of the change remaining on the board; eight incumbents on the board, all of whom supported it, lost in the November 2005 election. Due to a voting machine malfunction, however, it was not settled whether incumbent James Cashman lost his seat to Bryan Rehm, one of the plaintiffs in Kitzmiller, until January 4, when Rehm prevailed in a special election in the precinct with the faulty machine, the York Daily Record (January 4, 2006) reported.

In February, the board will consider a new revision of the district's biology curriculum [Link broken] (PDF), which the science department at Dover High School started to develop at the end of the last school year; "intelligent design" is not mentioned in it. Teacher Jen Miller told the York Daily Record that she was thinking about restoring lessons on evolution that she omitted in 2004, and was quoted [Link broken] by the Associated Press (January 4, 2006) as saying, "I will feel comfortable again teaching what I'd always felt comfortable teaching."