Lawmakers in South Dakota are to take up a bill that protects teachers from repercussions if they include critical discussions of scientific topics like climate change and the Big Bang, the Associated Press reports. KEVN-Black Hills Fox adds that residents at a public session were concerned about the bill.
The bill's sponsors say it would protect teachers who want to teach students to think critically, according to KEVN-Black Hills Fox. One sponsor, Rep. Tony Randolph, a Republican, tells the station that the bill would give a teacher the ability to "speak to both sides" and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of scientific concepts.
"Now, to those who worship at the altar of global warming, it is perhaps unnerving that their dogma may be challenged," another sponsor, Sen. Phil Jensen, a Republican, says, according to the AP.
Critics say the bill opens the door for creationism to be taught in the classroom. The National Center for Science Education says it would "would allow the misrepresentation of science in the classroom." It adds that the bill's language, while not directly mentioning evolution or climate change, is the same as other bills targeting those areas.
The AP adds that representatives from school boards, administrators, and teachers oppose the measure.