ACLU to Challenge "Monkey" Law

Apr 12, 2012

MURFREESBORO, Tenn (WMOT)  --  The Tennessee chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union says it’s already talking to potential plaintiffs about challenging Tennessee’s so-called "monkey law."

The measure became law Tuesday without Governor Haslam’s signature. The governor complained that the bill would likely cause confusion, but also noted that it passed with comfortable margins in both chambers of the Tennessee legislature.

Tennessee ACLU Director Hedy Weinberg says the new law is essentially a permission slip for the state’s teachers to introduce their own personal beliefs on the origins of life into the classroom. Weinberg calls that a violation of the First Amendment, and says she’s already talking to parents about challenging the law in court.

“When the right set of facts and plaintiffs present themselves, we will challenge the law. There’s no question this new law undermines education in the Tennessee Public Schools classroom. We’re calling it ‘Scopes revisited.’”

Supporters of the bill say it gives students a chance to use their critical thinking skills.