The controversial cartoon depicts dueling castles labeled "Evolution (Satan)" and "Creation (Christ)." On top of the evolution castle, there is a flag reading "humanism" and balloons marked with the words euthanasia, divorce, homosexuality, pornography, abortion and racism.
"Evolution is part of high school biology curriculum," the 50-slide PowerPoint read. "You are entitled to challenge everything and encouraged to believe whatever you would like."
Anquinette Jones, a freshman biology teacher, said the PowerPoint she assigned through the Blackboard system was designed by Atlanta Public Schools (APS) and was part of a file sharing database for teachers. Both the APS project manager and science coordinator have not commented on the matter.
Freshman Griffin Ricker said Jones was angered by the fact that students notified the administration.
"She had a 10-minute rant," Ricker said. "She yelled and said, 'This is on the APS website, and it was certified.'"
Other students switched out of the class specifically because Jones refused to teach evolution.
Fellow science teacher Nikolai Curtis said the APS hasn't set a specific policy on teaching creationism, but feels the cartoon was inappropriate.
"[It] dealt specifically with the religious controversy associated with it, and one of the major rules of teaching evolution is that it is science, and it is based in fact, based in evidence," Curtis told The Southerner, the high school's newspaper.
Matt Cardoza, the Georgia Department of Education director of communications, said that creationism is not included in the state curriculum for biology due to the Supreme Court case Edwards v. Aguillard, which prohibits states from requiring schools to teach it.
Several students said they were offended by the cartoon.
"[I] have gay parents, and [the cartoon] said that evolution caused homosexuality and it implied that to be negative, so I was pretty offended by it," said student Seraphina Cooley.
APS spokeswoman Jill Strickland Luse told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the slides have been removed from the APS file-share database.
"It appears that this science lesson plan was not properly vetted prior to being uploaded to the district's SharePoint website last summer. When the district learned of the PowerPoint presentation and worksheet that is in question, the lesson and supporting documents were reviewed, and they were immediately removed. The district is currently reviewing the vetting process for all lesson plans prior to uploading them for instruction. In addition, the curriculum coordinators will review lesson plans with teachers as part of their pre-planning session later this month."