This news about Louisiana took us by surprise — not because weird stuff is going on there, but because our usual sources haven’t mentioned it.
We’ve previously described that state as a swirling vortex of voodoo and creationism. As you know, in 2008 they were the first state (of only two) to enact — almost unanimously — a version of the Discovery Institute’s anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism Academic Freedom Act (about which see the Curmudgeon’s Guide to “Academic Freedom” Laws). It became the infamous Louisiana Science Education Act (the LSEA).
We found this news at the website Louisiana Record. They say this about themselves: “OUR GOAL at The Louisiana Record is to cover the state’s legal system in a way that enables you, our readers, to make the public business your business.” This is the headline that got our attention: Judge approves settlement with Bossier Parish Schools stemming from allegations of promoting religion. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:
A federal judge has approved a settlement that states a public school in Louisiana has been promoting religious messages in the classroom. According to WBRZ.com [Judge approves Louisiana school religion lawsuit settlement], the lawsuit was filed against the Bossier Parish School District by Americans United for Separation of Church and State in February 2018.
Okay, the case is settled. What was it about? We’re told:
The terms of the settlement were approved by U.S. District Judge Maurice Hicks Jr. on March 7 after being approved in January through some policy changes. The Bossier Parish School Board will create a monitoring committee to ensure there are no violations of religious freedom in the school. It also states that the school board must seek out facilities so that school events will not have to be held in houses of worship.
Whatever was going on there, it must have been wild. After that they tell us:
Bruce Hamilton, staff attorney at ACLU of Louisiana, said this settlement is similar to a case they are involved in at Webster Parish School District [they link to this at ACLU Louisiana: Louisiana School District Will End School-Sponsored Religious Proselytizing], where the school has been accused of proselytizing students. The schools in the Webster Parish case allegedly would regularly promote prayer and use Bible verses and prayers at graduation ceremonies while claiming that evolution was a myth.
Wow — that’s another one we didn’t know about. Okay, one more excerpt, this one is about the Bossier Parish case:
“I think the settlement is a victory for the students because it protects their rights to religious freedom and religious expression,” Hamilton told Louisiana Record. “Students have the right to pray or not to pray, without the interference or coercion of school officials.” … Though the settlement will prohibit the school from promoting religion, students will still be allowed to pray on their own as they wish.
So there you are. We have a feeling that this is just a slight hint of what’s going on in Louisiana schools. That’s how the state is — you might say it’s Discoveroid territory.
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