The Atlanta Constitution from Atlanta, Georgia on March 6, 1996 · 23
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The Atlanta Constitution from Atlanta, Georgia · 23

Atlanta, Georgia
Issue Date:
Wednesday, March 6, 1996
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NEWS Wednesday, March 6,.1996 D5fl The Atlanta Journal The Atlanta Constitution Around the South "WIT Associated Press jlil iasiiTiiic icawiici iiwicjf iwuciu, siiwvii in utujiuuni, aaja tit. is willing iu wianvngb i '' legislation that would bar teaching of evolution as fact. ' i Klew battle over evolution 1 1 Proposed limits evoke memories of Scopes trial By Jane DuBose FOR THE JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION H:I.'T Nashville Even though Kathryn Conner spent her life in the insurance business rather than education, she understands teachers' worry about legislation likely to be voted on this week that would outlaw the teaching of evolution as fact. "Oh, silly, silly," she says. "Evolution has been in the textbooks for over 60 years and it hasrj't hurt anybody." (Jonner, an 87-year-old resi-dentfof Dayton, Tenn., cares about the issue because she knew the man whose memory the legislation is evoking 71 years after the famous trial that bears his namje. John Scopes was her physics teacher and class sponsor at Rhea County High School. Scopes was fired, tried and found guilty for teaching Charles Darwin's theory of human development from apes. Before he eventually was reinstated, his case became an international battleground for the clash between scientific and biblical accounts of human origins! Today, the issue is being tried again in the halls of Tennessee's General Assembly, where the Senate postponed a vote Monday night on its version of a bill that would allow teachers to be fired for, teaching evolution as fact rather than theory. A House version remains in committee, and sponsors say they may wait for a Senate vote. Controversy in Alabama, Georgia j Other Southern states also ar? grappling with the issue. Alabama is putting a disclaimer in biology textbooks, cautioning students against "the uriproven belief that random, undirected forces produced a world of living things." ; In Georgia, an amendment allowing the teaching of creation-ism has stalled in the Legislature, but state school Superintendent Linda Schrenko asked the attorney general whether crea-tionism can already be taught "In my biology class, if it's mentioned, I call it theory. I never speak of it as fact. We are in the Bible Belt." CHARLOTTE McBEE High school biology teacher under current law. "If we teach only evolution, we are at cross-purposes with what many parents teach at home and certainly what is taught in our churches," she wrote. "Do we have the right to do so?" : In Tennessee, the issue has pitted the American Civil Liberties Union and the teachers union against Christian conservatives. "To us, it's not a religious issue, but a teacher's rights issue," said Jerry Winters, lobbyist for the Tennessee Education Association. Winters was among dozens of spectators in the Tennessee Senate gallery Monday night who watched the Senate throw the bill back to the education committee. The so-called "monkey bill" has attracted several amendments in the Senate, and the sponsor, Sen. Tommy Burks (D-Monterey), concedes that it may be in trouble. Despite the nationwide notoriety the bill has gathered, he insists he is completely serious. He is proposing that any teacher who teaches evolution as fact be fired. A House version allows firing but would not require it. Lawsuit threatened "We are seeing legislators clearly willing to vote for unconstitutional bills," says Hedy Weinberg of the Tennessee ACLU chapter. She says the ACLU is likely to find a teacher willing to sue should the bill be come law, just as the ACLU found Scopes decades ago in Dayton. One teacher has volunteered. Wesley Roberts, an ecology and biology teacher at Hillwood High School in Nashville, declared Monday that he is willing to challenge any such law. Many teachers say they already teach evolution as theory, and others say they mostly avoid the topic because it's not a required curriculum topic. "In my biology class, if it's mentioned, I call it theory," says Charlotte McBee, a biology teacher at Nashville's McGavock High School. "I never speak of it as fact. We are in the Bible Belt." Winters says the TEA has received a number of calls from teachers who are concerned about professional freedom. "Our organization has a strong commitment that the General Assembly is not the proper forum for setting curriculum in public schools," Winters said. "It is a highly politicized environment." The Christian Coalition in Tennessee says it cannot claim credit for the evolution bills but that the state's legislators are moving away from secular domination of schools. "Our state leaders reflect society," says Janice Johnson, a member of the Nashville coalition. Besides the monkey bill, the legislature also is considering legislation to require the posting of the Ten Commandments in public places and to ban same-sex marriages. Tennessee's attorney general has said all such laws could be unconstitutional. What do they think of the flap at Rhea County High School, where it all started? "From my perspective, we have nothing to gain and every- thing to lose by talking about it," said principal Patrick Conner, Kathyrn Conner's nephew. "Whatever happens, happens. We will adhere to the law, whatever it is." Staff writer Doug dimming contributed to this article. mm t V Wedowee anger flares again " Black leaders in Wedowee, Ala., are trying to stop a run for county school superintendent by Hu-lond Humphries, the principal ousted in 1994 because he threatened to cancel a prom if interracial couples attended. ; )$ut state Superintendent Ed Richardson, who must certify candidates, said the controversy does not constitute grounds to disqualify Humphries frgm the race in Randolph County. '.. FLORIDA BIQ HOUSE ARREST: Clyde Hoeldtke, a builder "accused of bilking contractors out of $3 million hasbeen sentenced to two years in his $1.7 million mansion. The head of the now-defunct Beacon Homes pleaded no contest to 23 counts of misappropriating funds and agreed to pay $154,600 resti- tution. He left unfinished homes in Pasco, Pinellas, Citrus, Hernando and Charlotte counties. TENNESSEE NUMBERS RACKET: After a handwriting check, the number of petitioners opposing the deal to bring the Houston Oilers to Nashville may fall under the required 28,084 needed to force an election on whether to use city bonds to build a stadium for the team. SOUTH CAROLINA KKK WONT GO AWAY: The Redneck Shop has opened in Laurens to sell Ku Klux Klan memo rabilia and to raise money to establish the South's first KKK museum. Owner John Howard said Tuesday that people have thrown rocks at his win dows, spit in his doorway, insulted him and picket ed his shop. Compiled by Cerrie Ferris 1 wmj'mmm dm ;r Former Valdosta police chief gets prison term for theft FORMER CHIEF SENTENCED: Former Valdosta Police Chief Charlie Spray, who was convicted last month of stealing military surplus equipment intended for drug-intervention work, received a five-year sentence Tuesday. Lowndes County Superior Court Judge George A. Horkan Jr. ordered Spray to serve one year in prison and four years on probation. He also was fined $5,000.. The former police chiefs attorney immediately filed an appeal, a court official said. A jury con- ' victed Spray, 48, last month of theft, two counts of automobile theft and one count of making a false statement in connection with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency-issued property in his personal possession. EDUCATION EMORY STUDENTS PROTEST: About 100 African-American Emory University students gathered Tuesday to protest the handling of an altercation in a campus dormitory. On Jan. 24 in Dobbs Hall, a white male student allegedly as saulted a black female student. The next day, three black male students visited the white male in his room to discuss the incident. Both sides say they have since sworn out warrants that DeKallrr police could not immediately confirm the white " male was accused of misdemeanor simple assault,; and the black students were accused of making, s terroristic threats, a felony. Jonathan Butler, , president of Black Student Alliance, said the incf- dent is an example of "continuous unfair and dis parate treatment" of black Emory students. COURTS r.i. KILLER OF TEENS CONVICTED: A 25-yeaK'' old Waycross man was convicted Tuesday of mur,,! der in the slayings of two Ware County teenagers1 and a nurse during the 1993 Memorial Day weekJ end. The jury, which deliberated for six hours . during two days, will return to Chatham County' Superior Court in Savannah on Wednesday to hear evidence in the penalty phase. Billy Daniel" Raulerson Jr. could receive either the death penalty, life in prison or life in prison without parole. Raulerson was convicted in the murders of Char-lye Dixon, her fiance, Jason Hampton and Teresa Gail Taylor. I MMftgHBOT 1 mm m m sm mmim A Few Words About our Sole. After taking recent inventories we discovered that our Bankhead Avenue store was overstocked. We considered moving the merchandise to one of our other stores. But the more we thought about it, the more convinced we were that this is a great opportunity to thank you for shopping here for so many years. Think of it as an "Appreciation Sale!" So please visit our Bankhead Avenue store and take advantage of this exceptional opportunity! EVERY MM EVERY CORNER OF EVERY DEPARMENI HAS BEEN REDUCED fORMEDlAJESAlEl MEN'S, WOMEN'S & CHILDREN'S CLOTHING DOMESTICS TOYS HARDWARE SMALL APPLIANCES HEALTH & BEAUTY CAR CARE & MUCH MORE fin Bustmssl Ivy I musuai I Jvivlr i omen J Jliilr I area I 2176 BANKHEAD AVE., N.W. ATLANTA OPEN DAILY REGULAR HOURS CASH, MAJOR CREDIT CARDS, AH SALES HNAi Tobacco, Pharmaceutical departments and auto service bays, where applicable, will remain open during this sale but will not be participating in the prevailing discounts. Discounts do not apply to clearance merchandise.

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