Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas School Board candidate Peluso reverses on creationism

Ken Peluso, a candidate for the Pinellas School Board District 4 seat, made the comment in a forum.

Ken Peluso, a candidate for the Pinellas School Board District 4 seat, made the comment in a forum.

Pinellas School Board candidate Ken Peluso said Friday he doesn't support teaching creationism in public schools, despite comments he made during a public forum.

He was caught off guard and gave a "quick response without thinking," he said.

During a candidate forum held by the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club in St. Petersburg, Peluso was asked Thursday if he favored teaching creationism. If so, would he allow it to be taught during a science class? He said, "I think creationism and evolution should be taught side by side and I don't care what classroom."

He said students should "know the facts" and decide for themselves.

"In hindsight, that was probably a poor choice of words in response to a question that caught me off guard," he said Friday. "My personal beliefs have nothing to do with it."

Florida's science standards, which were adopted in 2008, call evolution the "fundamental concept underlying all of biology" and say it is "supported by multiple forms of scientific evidence." Creationism is not in the state standards, despite a previous effort to include it.

Peluso, a retired chiropractor and former chairman of the Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas, was the first candidate to get the question Thursday and the only one to say yes. His two opponents for the District 4 seat, Beverley Billiris, former mayor of Tarpon Springs, and John Nygren, a retired math teacher, said no. So did candidates in the other four School Board races.

Peluso said Friday that the debate between creationism and evolution is "probably the most controversial education issue of all time." Despite his comments, he said he wouldn't teach creationism alongside evolution in a science class. He could see a place for it in a world religion class with other views, he said.

Since making the comments, Peluso said he has given some thought to the motto of the nonpartisan Suncoast Tiger Bay Club: "Carving up a politician for lunch since 1978."

"I believe I'm carved," he said.

District 4 includes most of northern Pinellas County, including Tarpon Springs, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor and parts of Clearwater. Board member Robin Wikle holds the seat, but announced in February that she would resign midterm. Wikle endorsed Billiris.

The election for the nonpartisan seat is Aug. 26. If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff will be held in November.

Contact Cara Fitzpatrick at cfitzpatrick@tampabay.com. Follow @fitz_ly.

Pinellas School Board candidate Peluso reverses on creationism 08/08/14 [Last modified: Friday, August 8, 2014 11:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Shark Week 2017: Michael Phelps races a shark and other must-see specials

    Blogs

    It's that time of year again. No, not back to school month or geek convention season -- it's Shark Week.

    For almost 30 years, Discovery Channel has brought a full week of special programs on the toothy underwater predators through Shark Week.
  2. HomeTeam 100: Players 51-60

    Footballpreps

    TAMPA - Wharton defensive back AJ Hampton will help lead the Wildcats into the 2017 season. Taken 7-6-17 by Scott Purks
  3. The Iron Yard coding academy to close in St. Petersburg

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Iron Yard, a code-writing academy with a location in downtown St. Petersburg, will close for good this summer.

    Instructors (from left) Mark Dewey, Jason Perry, and Gavin Stark greet the audience at The Iron Yard, 260 1st Ave. S, in St. Petersburg during "Demo Day" Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, at The Iron Yard, which is an immersive code school that is part of a trend of trying to address the shortage of programmers.  The academy is closing this summer.  [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  4. Florida's unemployment rate drops for fourth straight month

    Markets

    How low can Florida's unemployment go? Pretty low, according to the state's latest unemployment numbers. The Sunshine State's unemployment rate dropped to 4.1 percent for June, down from 4.3 percent in May, state officials said Friday morning.

    Florida's unemployment level dropped to 4.1 percent in June from 4.3 percent in May. |  [Times file photo]
  5. 20 great images from around the globe for July 14 to July 21

    World

    Photos of the week for July 14 - July 21: A giant sinkhole swallows homes in Florida, a desperate rescue attempt in Karachi, synchronized swimmers competing in Budapest, a rainy rugby match in Australia, a smiling O.J. Simpson in Nevada and more.

    A lobsterman's boat leaves a gentle wake as he motors out of a harbor on a foggy morning, Friday, July 21, 2017, in Boothbay, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)