An online public school in Ohio has denied an allegation made by a prominent atheist group that it teaches creationism in its science courses.
Last month, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter to the Ohio Distance & Electronic Learning Academy (OHDELA), alleging that creationist literature is being read in its biology classes.
"A concerned parent of an OHDELA student contacted us to report that the school's biology classes include a unit on 'biogenesis' that teaches the biblical view of creation," FFRF Staff Attorney Sam Grover wrote.
"The class readings for this unit reportedly include young earth creationist Walter Brown's book 'In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood,' a book promoted exclusively by Brown's own religious ministry, the Center for Scientific Creation," he continued.
Grover pointed out that teaching creationism or intelligent design in public schools is "unlawful," adding that it is not "based in fact."
He further noted that the Supreme Court has struck down the teaching of "scientific creationism" in public schools and that federal courts have rejected efforts to introduce material that undermine evolution in its courses.
In a statement sent to The Christian Post, OHDELA Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer David Bowlin denied the allegation that creationism is being taught in the school's biology classes.
"Consistent with state and federal law, OHDELA does not teach creationism in its biology classes. Any allegations you may have heard otherwise are merely allegations," Bowlin stated.
In the letter to OHDELA, Grover urged the public school to conduct an investigation to ensure that its teachers are not promoting their personal religious beliefs to the students while acting on the school's behalf.
The FFRF lawyer asked the school to inform its teachers that incorporating religious theories in lessons or using materials that promote religious views in public schools is unconstitutional.
The book in question, "In the Beginning," is published through the Center for Scientific Creation, and has since gone through several editions since the 1990s.
Its eighth edition, published in December 2008, claims to include an explanation of evidence of human origins from different categories such as biology, astronomy, earth science and physical sciences. Other subjects that are discussed in the book include the origins of Grand Canyon, global flood, the sudden freezing and burial of the frozen mammoths and the formation of mountain ranges, volcanoes, submarine canyons and ocean trenches.