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Press ReleaseReligious Freedom, Church-State
ADL Welcomes Settlement of Cobb County Evolution Sticker Case

Atlanta, December 20, 2006 The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) welcomed yesterday's decision by the Cobb County School Board to settle a lawsuit brought by concerned parents who challenged the placement of stickers in biology textbooks that undermined the teaching of evolution.

Originally placed in textbooks in 2002, the sticker stated "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things.  This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered."  Under the settlement of the case entitled, Selman v. Cobb County School District, the School Board agreed never to use similar stickers or undermine the teaching of evolution in the science classroom.

"The real winners here are the students," said Shelley Rose, Interim Southeast Region Director.  "Twenty years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court made it clear that any attempt to ban evolution or include creationism in the science curriculum is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.  The stickers should never have been placed in textbooks, and the Board's action only served to divide the community and undermine science education, which is so critical to our children's future success.  We hope that this settlement heals the divisions and puts the focus back on science education."  

In 2003, U.S. District Court Judge Clarence Cooper ruled that the stickers were unconstitutional and ordered them removed from biology textbooks.  The Board appealed this ruling to the Atlanta-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which sent the case back to Judge Cooper to gather additional information.  This is where the case remained until yesterday's settlement.

When the case came before the 11th Circuit, ADL submitted a friend-of-the-court brief which urged the Court to uphold Judge Cooper's ruling, and in 2002 the League presented its "Unsung Hero Award" to Jeffrey Selman, a local parent who led the filing of this lawsuit.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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2006 Anti-Defamation League