Creationism Pulled from Arroyo Grande High School Curriculum

UPDATE: Mother of AGHS Student Speaks Out

ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. - UPDATE: Nearly two weeks after the mother of an Arroyo Grande High School student filed a complaint of creationism being taught in her son's life science class, she is now anonymously sharing her side of the story with KEYT.

"He was talking about the Tower of Babel, Noah's Ark," said this mother who wishes to remain anonymous.

"He equated evolution with atheism."

Since KEYT published this story on April 24th, this mother has read some of the comments posted onto our social media page.

"The most outrageous thing I've read is that we should be teaching it alongside evolution," said the mother.

Brandon Pettenger is the teacher accused of teaching creationism in her son's life science class.

Lucia Mar Unified School District admitted creationism was not supposed to be taught in a science class and has since put a stop to it from being included in the curriculum at AGHS.

"You know, regardless of their religious beliefs, I don't think parents are thinking  about this standards test," said the mother.

According to the California Department of Education Science Framework for California Public Schools, "Philosophical and religious beliefs are based, at least in part, on faith and are not subject to scientific test and refutation. Such beliefs should be discussed in the social science and language arts curricula."

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According to this mother, Brandon Pettenger was in school on Friday but a substitute taught the life science class.

PREVIOUS: In mid-April, this woman reached out to Atheists United San Luis Obispo, expressing concern that her son was learning about creationism in his life science class.

"The teacher was showing debates about creationism and lecturing about it and assigning homework about it," said David Leidner, a board member with Atheists United San Luis Obispo.

Brandon Pettenger has been identified as the teacher of the life science class.

Atheists United wrote a letter of complaint to Arroyo Grande High School on April 18, 2015.

According to Atheists United SLO, Principal Conan Bowers of Arroyo Grande High School reached out to the family who made the complaint, saying he was "unaware" of creationism being taught at AGHS and that he "would put a stop to it immediately."

"We are very pleased the principal is committed to stopping the teaching of creationism at his school and we're hoping all local schools are making sure of the same," said Leidner.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation penned a letter of complaint to the Lucia Mar Unified School District.

"Our state standards do not have creationism in there," said Tom Butler, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction with the Lucia Mar Unified School District.

"Our board policy clearly states our science teachers are not supposed to be teaching that."

An investigation at the school and the district levels have been launched.
Butler says they have spoken to the teacher but would not comment any further because of "personnel matters."

The mother who filed the complaint released this statement: "This isn't an anti-religious stance, this is about my son learning science."

As of Friday afternoon, Pettenger's contact information could be found on the Arroyo Grande High School website but he is listed as a science teacher for chemistry and not life science.

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