Dear Unbiased and Qualified Hearing Officer …

Florida’s horrible new Instructional Materials and Religious Liberties in Schools laws are continuing to garner all sorts of news coverage. The latest pieces are great takes on the laws by popular columnists.

First we have Fred Grimm’s thoughts in the Miami Herald, New education law allows anti-science mob to go after evolution and climate change:

Check the calendar: 2017, the year Florida relegated evolution to a tenuous supposition.

Some 92 years after a substitute high school teacher named John T. Snopes stood trial for exposing students to Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection, Florida intends to force local school boards to re-litigate the old conflict between religious fundamentalism and modern science.

Last month, Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill that will allow any county resident to challenge public school teaching materials they personally find unsuitable, inappropriate or pornographic. The law requires school boards to hire hearing officers to deal with complaints.

The Palm Beach Posts’s Frank Cerabino clearly had fun when he wrote what he imagines could be citizen complaint letters to the hearing officers, Florida’s evolution to complainer’s paradise for public schools:

Dear Unbiased and Qualified Hearing Officer:

So my cousin’s nephew’s best friend’s daughter tells me there’s nothing about Noah’s Ark in her public school textbook for Earth Science. How can this be?

Instead of filling these kids’ minds with nonsense about sedimentary rocks from billions of years ago (when we know the earth is only 6,000 years old!) they should be taught how they’re all here today because the 600-year-old Noah loaded all the animals two-by-two on his big ark, and thereby preserved life on Earth.

I believe without the ark, your explanation of the world fails being “balanced and noninflammatory.”

Which is why me and the others in the prayer circle are planning to show up for the public hearing we are entitled to under the new Instructional Materials Act passed by legislature.

Just say when.

And speaking of funny yet sad, I have a quick story to tell you. I’ve been invited to appear on radio station WGCU’s Gulf Coast Live show next Wednesday. The instructional materials law sponsor Rep. Byron Donalds is also supposed to be a guest. The show’s producer tweeted about it and I responded, mentioning the fine folks at the Florida Citizens’ Alliance. (If you don’t know, the Alliance are the ones who wrote the law, recruited Donalds to sponsor the law, spoke at all of the committee hearings for the law and are now drinking champagne after their success.)


That was the one and only time I’ve ever mentioned the Alliance on Twitter. Minutes later I went back to check on something and I’ll be darned; the Alliance blocked me. Think they’re sensitive about something? I hadn’t mention anything specific in my tame tweet, but I sure as heck am going to now. Have a look at some of the Alliance’s greatest hits (I have more than one Twitter account, so I can still see their stuff):



I want to leave you with this final thought: these folks WON. They got their law passed.

I’m sorry … this isn’t funny … it’s just plain sad.


About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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