Continuing concern in South Dakota


"A South Dakota lawmaker wants public school teachers to be free to teach intelligent design in their classrooms even though courts have ruled intelligent design is inherently religious — and therefore unconstitutional in school," according to a report from KMEG 14, headquartered in Sioux City, Iowa, just across the Missouri river from South Dakota. The report was discussing South Dakota's Senate Bill 112, which would, if enacted, require that "[n]o school board or school administrator may prohibit a teacher in public or nonpublic school from providing instruction on intelligent design or other related topics."

NCSE's deputy director Glenn Branch told the station, "A federal court has already established in 2005 that teaching intelligent design creationism in the public schools is unconstitutional. [SB 112 is] in effect encouraging teachers to teach intelligent design creationism confident [in] the knowledge that there's a law telling their superiors that they can't interfere with that." Warning of the potential for litigation as the result of enacting the bill, he commented, "In the case [Kitzmiller v. Dover] that provoked the decision in 2005, a local school district was left paying a million dollars and it could have been more."

A sponsor of the bill, Jeff Monroe (R-District 24), argued that the Kitzmiller case is irrelevant: "That case was based on the fact that it forced the teachers to introduce it. That's different from this." But KMEG's report quoted a key passage from the Kitzmiller decision: "intelligent design cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents." KMEG also quoted the superintendent of a local school district as reporting that no elected officials have sought his advice on the bill and as saying, "We don't plan on changing the way we teach right now and will be following the law of the land."