DELTONA, Fla., Sept. 24 (UPI) -- A Florida middle school apologized for an assignment distributed in science classes that told students evolution deniers "are trying to deceive you."
Some parents of eighth graders at Heritage Middle School in Deltona said they were shocked when their children brought home a reading assignment titled, "Not Just a Theory."
Pictures of the assignment were circulated on the Volusia County Moms Facebook page, where users said they were outraged by an excerpt from the assignment that urged students not to listen to authority figures who deny the validity of the theory of evolution.
"If that person is a teacher, a minister, or some other figure of authority, they should know better. In fact, they probably do and they are trying to mislead you," the paper reads.
Parent Jennifer Flinchum told WKMG-TV "the hair on the back of my neck stood up" when she read the excerpt.
"It does make me question what else they're going to put in front of him for the rest of the year," she said.
Another parent, Lisa McNeil, said she does not object to teaching evolution, but she was outraged by the phrasing on the sheet.
"It's not so much the evolution aspect of it, it's just the way they phrased those few sentences how they were kind of taking the rights away from the parents," McNeil said.
Thomas Vaughn, the school's principal, sent a note home to parents apologizing for the assignment.
"Recently [an] 8th grade science assignment titled 'Not just a theory,' was distributed in an attempt to address current science standards for differentiating scientific theory and scientific law. The reading does meet this criterion up until the last two sentences that state, 'If that person is a teacher, or minister, or some other figure of authority, they should know better... In fact, they probably do, and are trying to mislead you.' Upon this coming to our knowledge, the lesson had been retracted. In fact, please know that we apologize for this resource being used and take comfort knowing that it will not be used again. At no time, is it our place to interfere with authorities of household beliefs. Should you like to discuss this further then please do not hesitate to contact me."
A Volusia County School District representative said the assignment was used by three science teachers a few weeks ago and was not district mandated.