Go ahead and teach creation
State Sen. Ronda Storms, a Brandon Republican, has filed what she calls the "Academic Freedom Act" (SB 2692) with a stated goal of "providing public school teachers with a right to present scientific information relevant to the full range of views on biological and chemical origins."
In the findings section of the bill, Storms writes that the Legislature finds that many Florida teachers have "experienced or feared discipline, discrimination or other adverse consequences" for presenting a "full range of scientific views" regarding chemical and biological origins.
Her bill would would ban penalizing teachers for teaching alternatives, and disallow action against students for taking a position on evolution.
There's no related House bill filed yet.
Brandon Haught, blogger for Florida Citizens for Science, calls the proposal "typical grandstanding" and predicts (hopes?) the bill will go nowhere: "This bill was written in a way to make it way too obvious what the purpose is, and so it won’t be taken seriously."
Still, he writes, it "wouldn't hurt to write to your Florida legislators to let them know what you think of this."
Terry Kemple, president of the Brandon-based Community Issues Council, praised the effort. He worked closely with Storms in preparing the legislation.
"Finally teachers and students will have the opportunity to cover all the information regarding the theory of evolution," Kemple said in a news release, in which he also noted that a House member will be filing the same bill.
The Legislature convenes tomorrow. Stay tuned.