RICHMOND (WRIC) - The sponsor of an education bill that critics say promotes creationism is science classes is arguing back.
He says it's all about protecting teachers and giving them some flexibility if students question scientific norms like evolution or global warming, but those against the measure say it's clearly about bringing God into the classroom.
Delegate Dickie Bell, the bill's sponsor, says he was approached by the Virginia Christian Alliance, saying the measure is meant to protect teachers.
"It has been somewhat misrepresented and distorted by different folks and they've made it to sound like something it really isn't," he says. "If something becomes controversial or a different point of view is brought up in that class, we know that there are teachers who don't feel comfortable allowing that discussion to take place."
But those opposing the measure like the Secular Coalition for Virginia say it undermines science.
"Scientific controversies, which is really code for creationism, even though that's not really a scientific controversy, it's a religious controversy," says Autumn Reinhardt-Simpson. "If we start teaching our students or allowing teachers to teach things like creationism, they're going very unprepared into the modern world."
Bell says while the bill would allow students to challenge topics like evolution and global warming, he believes it helps critical thinking.
"It's important that we hear different perceptions," he says. "I think that's how our young people learn to deal with a very difficult world outside."
"All those protections are already in place," Reinhardt-Simpson says. "This bill is completely unnecessary."
This is actually part of a national debate as some other states have already passed similar bills.
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