GOSHEN — A biology teacher at Concord High School is under scrutiny over videos he is accused of showing to his class that advocate creationism.
On Tuesday, Feb. 18, attorney Patrick C. Elliott of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent Concord Community Schools Superintendent Wayne Stubbs a four-page letter addressing claims made to them by “a concerned parent.”
According to the letter, the parent said that Ryan Culp, a Concord High School biology teacher, showed his class parts of a video series by Kent Hovind called “Lies in the Textbooks” over a series of several classes.
Hovind founded the Creation Science Evangelism organization and Dinosaur Adventure Land, a now defunct creationist theme park in Pensacola, Fla. In 2007, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison on federal tax charges, according to the Pensacola News Journal.
In the letter to Stubbs, the attorney writes that when the parent spoke with Culp about the videos, Culp said he is legally allowed to bring creationism into the classroom as long as it isn’t more than “like, half of what the information is,” and that he is not permitted to teach either creationism or evolution as truth.
The letter gives further details about the parent’s interaction with Culp, and cites several federal court cases related to public schools and creationism.
“Federal courts have consistently rejected the promotion of creationism and its ilk in public schools,” the attorney writes.
The last paragraph of the letter makes several requests, including that Culp’s teachings are investigated, disciplinary action is taken if warranted and that Culp issues a statement of apology to the students in his class.
On Friday afternoon, Feb. 21, Stubbs wrote in an email that the district is constantly reviewing curriculum directions.
"We will continue to do this as we do in all content areas in all grade levels throughout our district," Stubbs wrote.
Culp did not respond to requests for comment.
Freedom From Religion Foundation is a non-profit organization that works with attorneys to "act on countless violations of separation of state and church on behalf of members and the public," according to its website.
Freedom From Religion Foundation letter, Feb. 18, 2014