We don’t like to embarrass people (unless they’re politicians or otherwise in the public eye), so we usually omit the writer’s name and city. In this case, however, the writer is a fifth grade teacher named Charlotte Hinson. We’ll give you a few excerpts from her letter, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis.
First she mentions some earlier letters she doesn’t like, which advocate teaching evolution. She seems to think it’s a competing religion, at least that’s our understanding of this:
I am a fifth-grade teacher, and am appalled at how both of these authors’ viewpoints share a similar view of teaching evolution, a “higher power,” no matter who or what they may be, being taught in classrooms, yet leaving intelligent design and creation discussions out.
Instead of following that procedure, Charlotte tells us what she does:
Every year I have taught school, and I have taught in southern California, Nashville, Tenn., and here, kids are disturbed when they hear or read that we evolved from apes. Of course, I do NOT teach that, but it is written in books, and they see it on certain TV shows as well.
Egad, the kiddies are being exposed to the evil of evolution! How does this compassionate teacher deal with that problem? Charlotte says:
If children are disturbed by it, then we should address it, of course within our First Amendment rights and responsibilities, always saying, “Here is what I believe.”
Hey, that’s fantastic! As long as she’s careful to utter the magic words — “Here is what I believe” — there’s no constitutional problem with teaching creationism. See how simple it is? Let’s read on:
My students are brilliant. I teach at a magnet school, and in large numbers, they always, always say, “I didn’t come from an animal. God created me in a unique way; I matter more than an animal; I’m special.”
Fifth grade kids are what — 10 years old? And even at that young age, Charlotte’s students already know that evolution is nonsense. That’s wonderful! She continues:
As an educator, it is upsetting reading this article suggesting that we teach evolution as fact and “repeal” creationism. My job is to present both, tell what I personally believe, only because they ASK, and they always, always ASK, and let them decide, but I will never ever teach what goes against so many of these children’s beliefs, morals and what their parents have worked so hard to instill in their hearts.
Yes, as long as they ask, it’s okay to let ’em have it — Noah’s Ark all the way — and then let the kiddies decide. Charlotte is a model teacher. Here’s more:
God made science, and unlike many adults, these kids KNOW that. They impact others, as well as impact me, every single day because they know nothing in science is “accidental;” they’re wiser than that.
Louisiana kids are smart! And they’re even smarter after they have Charlotte for a teacher. Moving along:
[I]t is legally within any educator’s constitutional right to answer any child’s questions honestly, not with the intention to sway, but to be authentic.
Charlotte knows the Constitution. As long as she’s authentic when she teaches creationism, then it’s okay! Isn’t that known as the Freshwater doctrine? She concludes like this:
I have many friends who are Christian ethics attorneys, prosecuting attorneys, and more who will be glad to remind you that if a child asks, you are free to respond.
Louisiana is fortunate to have such a wonderful teacher!
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