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FHS parent opposes book text
National media pick up on ‘Scopes’-esque controversy

A four-letter word in his son’s biology textbook jolted Kurt Zimmermann into action last December.

The issue sparking the controversy was a passage in the Farragut High School honor’s biology textbook, “Asking About Life.”

The book states: “Creationism, the biblical myth that the universe was created by the Judeo-Christian God in 7 days,” on page 319.

The word “myth” is the source of controversy for Zimmermann.

A committee of six found “the book is appropriate for an honors-level biology course,” Russ Oaks, Knox County Schools chief of staff, communicated to Zimmermann in a response letter.

The six who reviewed the book were FHS principal Michael Reynolds, assistant principal Tracy Poulsen, FHS senior Katie Stewart, biology teacher Jennifer Krouse, Barbara James (media center) and parent Nancy Wentz.

All six reviewers said the book shouldn’t be pulled.

In summation, Reynolds said, “We were all on the same page.”

Oaks said Zimmermann could appeal the committee’s decision with Knox County Board of Education.

He did just that.

Reynolds said the definition of “myth doesn’t say anything about it being false or fake.”

Zimmermann did not immediately return calls to farragutpress.

However, in a televised FOXNews interview Friday morning, April 9, Zimmerman said he would be satisfied if the word “myth” was changed to “belief.”

“Because a book is in an honors class, it doesn’t give it a license to be inaccurate and biased, and realistically, that’s in essence what they’re saying. In fact, the very students they said were mature enough to handle this were the very ones that brought this forward using their critical thinking skills to say, ‘look this is not correct,’” he said.

He said he wants Board members to “recognize the students, my son and other students, are the ones that brought this forward and brought it to our attention and they’re the ones who felt offended by this. … It was offensive.”

Zimmermann submitted a request for reconsideration of the text in December 2009.

School Board members reviewed Zimmermann’s request Wednesday, April 7, at their monthly meeting. However, the Board couldn’t come to a consensus.

Zimmermann told FOXNews, “[Board members] were split. Actually, three groups came out of that Board, some opinions that were absolutely siding with us. There were some opinions that said, ‘No, leave it as is.’ And there were some in the middle that said, ‘Yes, it’s offensive but let’s see if we can revise, or modify, the book in some way.’”

Because of that, “they decided to kick it down the road a piece and not do a thing with it,” he added.

The Board will revisit Zimmermann’s request at its May 5 meeting.


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