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TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 59-29-240 SO AS TO ALLOW TEACHERS TO HELP STUDENTS UNDERSTAND, ANALYZE, CRITIQUE, AND REVIEW THE SCIENTIFIC STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF THEORIES OF BIOLOGICAL AND CHEMICAL EVOLUTION IN AN OBJECTIVE MANNER.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. The General Assembly finds:
(A) An important purpose of science education is to inform students about scientific evidence and to help students develop critical thinking skills they need in order to become intelligent, productive, and scientifically informed citizens.
(B) The teaching of biological and chemical evolution can cause controversy, and some teachers may be uncertain of administrative expectations concerning the presentation of material on these scientific topics.
(C) It is important to create an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that encourages students to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues.
(D) Public school educators must be supported in finding effective ways to present controversial science curriculum and must be permitted to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review the scientific strengths and weaknesses of theories of biological and chemical evolution in an objective manner.
SECTION 2. Article 1, Chapter 29, Title 59 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 59-29-240. The State Board of Education, superintendents of public school districts, and public school administrators may not prohibit a teacher in a public school of this State from helping his students understand, analyze, critique, and review the scientific strengths and weaknesses of biological and chemical evolution in an objective manner. This act does not condone the promotion of religious or nonreligious doctrine, the promotion of discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs or nonreligious beliefs, or the promotion of discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion. By no later than September 1, 2008, the State Department of Education shall notify district superintendents of the provisions of this act, and each superintendent shall then disseminate to all employees within his district a copy of the provisions of this act."
SECTION 3. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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