Teaching the Theories of Evolution and Scientific Creationism in the Public Schools: The First Amendment Religion Clauses and Permissible Relief

This Note explores the propriety of teaching the theory of evolution and the scientific creation model in public elementary and secondary schools. Part I discusses the powers of the state and its political subdivisions to set public school policy and curriculum content and the extent to which those powers are circumscribed by the religion clauses of the first amendment. Part I concludes that the religion clauses permit the teaching of evolutionary theory in public schools. Part II examines the variety of judicial and legislative relief potentially available to creationists where the teaching of evolution theory interferes with their religious beliefs or practices. Part III concludes that, except for a small group of creationists, the exclusive presentation of the theory of evolution in public schools warrants no constitutionally based relief.