“Condoms Don’t Belong in School, and Neither Does Al Gore.”

A school district in Washington State has prohibited teachers from showing Vice President Al Gore’s documentary on global warming. Last month, a national organization of science teachers turned down an offer of free copies of “An Inconvenient Truth” citing controversy surrounding the film, but Federal Way public schools may be the first school district to ban it outright. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Federal Way School Board enacted the ban after complaints from a local gadfly:

“Condoms don’t belong in school, and neither does Al Gore. He’s not a schoolteacher,” said Frosty Hardison, a parent of seven who also said that he believes the Earth is 14,000 years old. “The information that’s being presented is a very cockeyed view of what the truth is. … The Bible says that in the end times everything will burn up, but that perspective isn’t in the DVD.”
Hardison’s e-mail to the School Board prompted board member David Larson to propose the moratorium Tuesday night.

Hardison, who vehemently opposed a plan to prohibit PowerPoint presentations at Federal Way City Council meetings last year, was incensed when he learned that one of his daughter’s teachers planned to show the documentary based largely on a PowerPoint presentation delivered by Gore. Hardison’s wife Gayla, who unsuccessfully ran for Federal Way’s City Council in 2005, also objects to what she sees as the anti-American message of the film:

“From what I’ve seen (of the movie) and what my husband has expressed to me, if (the movie) is going to take the approach of ‘bad America, bad America,’ I don’t think it should be shown at all,” Gayle Hardison said. “If you’re going to come in and just say America is creating the rotten ruin of the world, I don’t think the video should be shown.”

Unfortunately, school board president Ed Barney agreed with the Hardisons, invoking the familiar rhetoric of right-wing opposition to teaching science:

Students should hear the perspective of global-warming skeptics and then make up their minds, he said. After they do, “if they think driving around in cars is going to kill us all, that’s fine, that’s their choice.”

Asked whether an alternative explanation for evolution should be presented by teachers, Barney said it would be appropriate to tell students that other beliefs exist. “[Evolution]’s only a theory,” he said.