Science teachers in Virginia with an opinion about vaccines, raw milk, or genetically modified organisms in food would be best advised to keep their mouths shut under the currently proposed House Bill 207.
Delegate Richard P. “Dickie” Bell (R-Staunton) is the “chief patron,” or sponsor, of the bill that local media suggest is probably aimed at how evolution is taught in Virginia. But the language of HB 207 is so broad that just about any controversial topic involving science would fall under its restrictions.
According to a report by the National Center for Science Education, the bill forbids “any public elementary or secondary school teacher from helping students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in science class.”
HB 207 is directed at the Virginia State Board of Education and local school boards, which are also directed to “create an environment in public elementary and secondary schools that encourage students to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about scientific controversies in science classes.”
Education boards are directed to “assist teachers to find effective ways to present scientific controversies in science class.” It also contains a clause against religious discrimination.
The National Center for Science Education, which defends the teaching of evolution and climate change, labeled HB 207 as an “anti-science bill.”© Food Safety News