Scottish dad wants strong action to be taken over creationist ideas passed to pupils in a science class

AFTER telling pupils at an S3 physics class at Lasswade High School in Midlothian that “people must stop putting their faith in things that cannot be proven”, teacher Leonard Rogers proceeded to lay his “strong” creationist views on them.

According to this report, the father of one of the pupils, Adrian Smales, was sufficiently angered to complain to the school.

The ­headteacher Alan Williamson confirmed that Rogers:

Did state he held strong creationist opinions to [the] class.

Williamson added:

I’m dismayed that this is the case.

Outraged father Adrian Smales

Outraged father Adrian Smales

Education chiefs launched an investigation earlier this month after it emerged that members of a US pro-creationist Christian ­religious sect, the West Mains Church of Christ, had been working as classroom assistants for eight years at Kirktonholme Primary in East Kilbride.

Smales said:

I have no problem if they discuss [creationism] as part of candid religious dialogue to say these are other views in the world. But in a physics class he is supposed to be teaching mainstream education. It is not based in true, verifiable fact, which is what you are supposed to teach at S3 level.

Williamson said that  Rogers would be told he should not be discussing these matters with pupils and should be teaching from an impartial viewpoint.

However, Smales, who is due to meet with the headteacher tomorrow to discuss the issue, said he was unhappy that further action had not been taken.

He wants an investigation into the extent to which Rogers, who has worked at the school for 27 years, may have been discussing creationist views in other science classes.

My daughter has also been given no remedial education to correct what they have been told. So the school has left the situation whereby all of these impressionable youngsters have taken on board the erroneous material he has told them and the school is doing nothing to correct it.

Midlothian Council said there had been no previous complaints or concerns raised about the issue. However, Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian, said:

I do think it’s an issue that needs properly looked at by all the relevant authorities, otherwise trust in our school system risks being eroded.

Caroline Lynch, chair of the Scottish Secular Society, said:

Matters of religious belief should not be discussed outside a religious observance or education context  –  it has no place in a science class.


15 responses to “Scottish dad wants strong action to be taken over creationist ideas passed to pupils in a science class”

  1. I hope this goes well and that this doesn’t or hasn’t disrupted learning.

  2. JohnMWhite says:

    The fortunate thing is that most S3 pupils are liable to be smarter than their physics teacher and probably will see his ramblings about creationism as infantile. Unfortunately this does leave something of a gap where actual education should be.

    Worrying about trust in the Scottish school system being eroded is a bit late when Catholic schools are still allowed to tell children that condoms spread AIDS and same-sex or even just self-sex relationships are so immoral they’ll condemn you to burn for eternity in a lake of fire. We’re going to wring our hands now over some daft teacher going on a rant about how you can’t trust scientists because they don’t believe god made the world in seven days?

    And I have to admit to some alarm at the idea of members of a religious sect infiltrating schools to access children. If they were not covered in the invisibility cloak of religion, what do you think would happen to collectives who made it their mission to get their hands on children? I wonder how they were granted such access. Maybe Jim Fixed It for them…

  3. L.Long says:

    Like JohnWhite states the kids are probably smart enough to know their teacher is an idiot and ignored the dim religious BS and never mentioned it to anyone; which is why there were no other complaints.

  4. Robster says:

    How on earth did this bloke become a teacher? He’s one of those silly, deluded people that believes in talking snakes and donkeys, that a man lived inside of a whale for three days and a superbly long list of absurd nonsense. Do we need these kind of people in our schools, teaching our children a dishonest doctrine completely devoid of evidence? Probably not.

  5. Matt+Westwood says:

    What we need is a song that can be taught to school students which is simple to learn and can be used to shout down such a teacher whenever the balderdash is trotted out. Robster has inspired me:

    “Talking snakes and donkeys
    Men who live in fish
    Babies born of virgins
    God will grant your wish
    Seven day creation
    Six grand years ago
    Is this really science?
    No I don’t think so
    Read your bible carefully
    And know your enemy
    Burn it on a bonfire
    Then you shall be free.”

    (to the tune of Onward Xtian Soldiers, if you like, or it will probably fit Land Of Hope And Glory as well.)

  6. AgentCormac says:

    people must stop putting their faith in things that cannot be proven

    Oh, the irony!

  7. andym says:

    Matt, Land of Hope and Glory does more or less fit (the fourth and third last lines are a bit problematic.) Or, as Private Eye once put it, ” Land of Hopeless Tories.”

    I do something useful in the week, honest.

  8. Angela_K says:

    I was taught Physics, Chemistry and Biology as separate subjects at school in the ’60s and it was because of the knowledge gained in these subjects that I concluded religion is nonsense. I cannot fathom the cognitive dissonance of those who hold the preposterous idea of creationism yet profess to teach the Sciences.

  9. Broga says:

    The encouraging aspect of this is that the Christian creationists can no longer infect vulnerable pupils without challenge. This needs to be pursued further.

  10. Dave Godfrey says:

    Angela_K – I actually learned that religion is nonsense from RE classes.

  11. Broga says:

    @Dave Godfrey: Ditto. I won the Divinity Prize in my last year at Grammar School. We were taught by a local vicar. When I began to realise the flaws in religion – e.g. God cannot be both all powerful and all loving – I was so excited I couldn’t leave these ideas alone. My prize was “Great Expectations.”

    The vicar said something along the lines of, “I awarded you the prize because you deserved it. But don’t think for a moment that I am under any illusions about the reasons for your fascination with religion.”

    I respected his fairness. In later life I wondered if he was a crypto atheist. I still have the book.

  12. JohnMWhite says:

    @Dave Godfrey – RE was a big help for myself as well. It was a Catholic school but I suspect our RE teacher was a bit jaded with the church and liked to bring peculiarities to our attention. She had us watch Alive! and then told us how, in Catholic doctrine, all the survivors are hell-bound sinners for eating the flesh of dead passengers in order to live. The class generally caught on to how ludicrous and pedantic this idea was, that god would want you to starve to death rather than breach an arbitrary rule that, while icky, doesn’t do anybody any harm.

  13. Matt+Westwood says:

    I like the way that Adrian Smales looks like Severus Snape.

  14. Don says:

    This should not have been happening, but at least the response seems to in the right direction.