Article on Clay County meeting

Here’s an article in the My Clay Sun section of the Times-Union about the Clay County anti-evolution resolution approval. The board members clearly made themselves out to be clueless about science, and they didn’t seem to care if everyone knew it. Additionally, they whine about the resolution not really having an effect. If that’s the case, then why bother with it, folks?

Though he voted for the resolution, board member Wayne Bolla said he didn’t think there is a difference in the word concept and theory.

Flagler College student Kristine Hoppenworth of Middleburg was in tears after the vote.

“They weren’t clear on what they were voting about,” she said. “They are not listening to the public, not listening to the experts. I think it is reducing the study of science to school board politics.”

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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5 Responses to Article on Clay County meeting

  1. S. Scott says:

    From the St. Johns County website. Anyone feel like writing a letter?? 🙂
    It wasn’t on their agenda. (Look at the 4th paragraph)

    2.06 School Board Rules

    The School Board has the authority to adopt rules under the authority of Chapter 120 Florida Statutes. The complied Rules shall be maintained in a Rules Manual, the official copy of which shall be located in the Superintendent’s office.

    These rules may be amended, repealed, or a new rule adopted as hereinafter prescribed. The term “rule” is defined in Chapter 120, Florida Statutes; it does not include “curricula by an educational unit”, thereby, removing the development or prescription of curriculum by a School Board from the procedural requirements established for rule making.

    Unless an emergency exists, any proposal relating to a rule amendment, the repeal of any rule, or the adoption of a new rule shall be presented in writing to the School Board including a written explanation of the proposal.

    The Superintendent shall give immediate and proper written notice to the public pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 120, Florida Statutes, when the School Board has determined that it will give due consideration to the proposal for adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule. The notice of a public hearing shall be advertised 28 days prior to the date of the hearing. The notice shall include a brief and concise explanation of the proposed rule’s purpose and effect. As provided by law, the Notice may also include an estimate of economic impact to all individuals affected by the proposed rule or rule amendment, the specific legal authority for the School Board’s action, and the location where the text of the proposed change may be obtained.

    Any person who is substantially affected by a proposed rule, rule amendment, or the repeal of a rule, may within twenty-one (21) days following notice of intent to adopt or repeal such rule, file a written request with the School Board seeking an administrative determination as to the validity of the proposed rule action.

    The Superintendent shall file immediately a copy of any new rule, rule amendment, or repeal of rule adopted by the School Board; in the official Rules Manual.

    Such rules shall become effective upon adoption by the School Board unless a time certain date is specified therein.

    Any person substantially affected by an existing School Board rule may petition the Division of Administrative Hearings, Florida Department of Administration, to conduct a hearing on the rule validity pursuant to Chapter 120, Florida Statutes. The decision of the Administrative Law Judge is subject to judicial review.

  2. Karen R says:

    Thanks for the research – I’ve got a couple friends in St. John’s county with a son in high school – but they’re the only folks I know personally who would qualify as ‘substantially affected’ for the purposes of those statutes.

    I’m hazy on the legal wording – do they have an automatic out because they are an ‘educational unit?’ The resolution itself isn’t a proscription of curriculum, though. I’m just not good enough with legal terms to even know if the resolution qualifies as a rule…

    The statutes referenced there are available at

  3. S. Scott says:

    I’m not sure about anything. It may just be about “rules” (dress code, etc…) Worth looking into I guess.

  4. Kristine says:

    They did add the resolution at the very beginning of the meeting. It just wasn’t on the print copy. And I’m not sure if “resolution”=”rule”.

  5. Grafixer says:

    (From The Florida Baptist Witness site)

    According to Kendall, the school districts in St. Johns, Baker and Taylor counties have composed resolutions against the proposed approach to teaching evolution. The resolutions request that the SBOE maintain academic freedom and integrity in the classrooms.

    “After observing the framers and writers as they ‘refreshed’ the standards, we were disappointed to say the least,” Kendall told the Witness via email. “But we feel hopeful with our 7-member SBOE which will be making the final decision.”

    Kendall said the president overseeing the school districts plans to send a copy of the resolution to further awareness in other districts and provide a template for them to use should they choose to do so.

    Acknowledging that other districts may not follow suit, Kendall said she urges residents of other counties to encourage their school boards to form their own resolutions.

    “We believe with the backing of several school districts this will help encourage the SBOE to vote in a manner that is best for the state of Florida,” Kendall told the Witness.

    These are comments from the STATE Board members. The thought that the State members will view Science as Science and that their agenda is good education… Well, it is just not a secure thought.

    State Board of Education member Donna Callaway, a veteran educator and longtime member of First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, has received statewide news attention since her exclusive comments to Florida Baptist Witness were published in a Dec. 6 editorial.

    “I agree completely that evolution should be taught with all of the research and study that has occurred. However, I believe it should not be taught to the exclusion of other theories of origin of life,” Callaway told the Witness, adding that she would vote against the standards if they reach the SBOE in their current form….

    Asked by the Witness about the criticism of Callaway, SBOE Chairman Fair praised Callaway as “one of my favorite persons. She has always demonstrated good judgment. She continues to do that.”…

    The Times also criticized Selena “Charlie” Carraway, program manager in the Office of Instructional Materials for the Department of Education, for an e-mail—sent on her personal e-mail on private time—encouraging opposition to the new science standards. The Times called for Carraway to be fired, although she was merely “counseled” by the Department for her “inappropriate” activity.

    In the e-mail, according to a news account by the Times, Carraway identified herself as a member of Sopchoppy Southern Baptist Church, detailed the science standards’ evolution-only approach and asked, “Whose agenda is this and will the Christians in Florida care enough to do something about it?”

    Also present at the Tampa SBOE meeting was Terry Kemple, member of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon where he is a leader of the church’s Community Issues Committee. Kemple told the Witness his church has been informing its members about the science standards and encouraging members to pray and take action.

    Kemple distributed to SBOE members a letter and legal memorandum by attorney David Gibbs and curriculum expert Francis Grubbs critiquing the science standards.

    “We are concerned about the scientific accuracy of the Florida standards and also about the potential some of these proposed terms might have for requiring only one particular belief system in Florida classrooms, which would be an unconstitutional violation of the Establishment Clause,” write Gibbs and Grubbs. (The entire memorandum is available on the Witness Web site:
    Also see:

    Side note: David Gibbs is the attorney that was hired by these folks to keep Terri Schiavo alive.

    Please contact your FDOE Board members!

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