Senator Monroe, have you considered applying intelligent design to your legislation?

First Pierre Republican Senator Jeff Monroe proposes Senate Bill 101, which he thinks pushes his favored fetal-personhood propaganda into public schools but which really opens the door for teachers of any subject and ideological stripe to say whatever they want about conception and sex in any classroom, without fear of any punishment or control from their administrations or school boards.

Not satisfied with that error, Senator Monroe opens the floodgates further with Senate Bill 112, which uses the same language as SB 101 to open every classroom to lectures on intelligent design:

No school board or school administrator may prohibit a teacher in public or nonpublic school from providing instruction on intelligent design or other related topics.

Even if I shared Senator Monroe's agenda of forcing the lies of intelligent design on South Dakota's children, I would never have written legislation like this. Just like SB 101, SB 112 is absurdly overbroad. Let us read the bill literally:

  • a teacher: Neither bill specifies teachers on staff. They apply to anyone holding a teaching certificate.
  • in a public or nonpublic school: So a teacher walks into a school. I walk into a school where I don't work, stand on a table in the lunchroom, and start talking to kids. As long as I discuss the topics referenced in SB 101 and 112, I'm immune from interference from school officials.
  • providing instruction on intelligent design: I am free to instruct the kids that intelligent design is bunk. I can instruct students that evolution works without any tinkering by any imagined deity.
  • and other related topics: Since we're on the topic, a more radical atheist teacher could throw to the kids that God is a figment of childish, insecure imaginations.

SB 112, like SB 101, absurdly demolishes administrative supervision of classrooms and curriculum. French teachers could spend days rambling about evolution or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and principals could not interrupt, discipline, suspend, or fire those French teachers for such professional malpractice. Senator Monroe also imposes state control on private religious schools, who might very much want to enforce a creationist curriculum but find a converting wolf among their sheep. Imagine a teacher at St. Thomas More or Great Plains Lutheran wakes up one morning, sees the darkness, and comes to school to debunk all the lies in the school's Gospel-based "science" books. That teacher starts praising Darwin, and pious administrators find their hands tied by Senator Monroe's ill-considered legislation.

Senator Monroe, I know you're enjoying your time in the Legislature as an opportunity to turn talk-radio karaoke into your personal fantasy of culture-war glory. But you still have to write bills that, on the off chance of a drunk majority, would not create havoc if enacted. SB 101 and SB 112 would create havoc. Withdraw them now, before the Senate Education Committee has to embarrass you on the record.