Evolution of a Controversy
The Cobb County, Georgia, school board has decided that it's time to evolve. Four years after the school board ordered that stickers declaring evolution to be "a theory, not a fact" be pasted into all science textbooks, the board yesterday settled a lawsuit and agreed to put the issue to rest. The lawsuit, which was filed by district parents unhappy with the evolution stickers, was the final step in a drawn-out saga that was widely ridiculed on late-night TV and the Internet. School board chairwoman Teresa Plenge said the board felt "the need to put this divisive issue behind us," but asserted that she still believed the stickers were constitutional. U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper disagreed, and in May 2005, he ordered the district to remove the labels—a task accomplished by hiring students as temp workers and equipping them with putty knives and adhesive remover. The district appealed Cooper's decision, but the case hung in limbo until the settlement Tuesday. Baptist minister John Crooks—who's also an incoming school board member—was happy with the outcome. "Moving on to more important educational matters is essential," he said.