Media Contact

Janna Farley,

January 25, 2019

The ACLU of North Dakota commends the decision to withdraw House Bill 1538 from further consideration.

House Bill 1538 would have allowed for the misrepresentation of science in public school classrooms, claiming to provide “the freedom to teach students the strengths and weaknesses of scientific theories and controversies.” Under the pretext of fostering academic exploration and critical thinking, House Bill 1538 would have granted legal cover to teachers who wanted to dress up religious beliefs regarding evolution and the origin of life as pseudo-science and inject them into their science classes.

“The ACLU of North Dakota stands with established national and local scientific and educational organizations which unanimously agree that there is no scientific controversy regarding the scientific theory of evolution,” said Heather Smith, executive director of the ACLU of North Dakota. “The best way to instill critical thinking skills in our students is by implementing and following established science curriculum that is already geared toward this very aim and has been written and tested by qualified educational specialists.  We’re happy with the decision to withdraw this bill from further consideration.”

About the ACLU of North Dakota

The ACLU of North Dakota monitors a wide range of issues at the legislature. Our education and lobbying efforts are aimed at informing both lawmakers and the public about the civil rights and civil liberties implications of the bills proposed by our elected officials.

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Dakota is a non-partisan organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly, and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection, and privacy are fundamental to a free people. In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women, and the LGBT communities. The ACLU of North Dakota carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for people of North Dakota.

For up-to-date information on the bills the ACLU of North Dakota is tracking, go to