To teach or not to teach? Global warming petition sparks debate at school board meeting

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Dozens showed up to Tuesday night's School Board meeting to voice their opinions about two petitions a local attorney turned in to Board members, one of which stirred up some controversy.

Since March, Rose Pugliese, a former Republican candidate for school board, has been circulating two petitions. One that asks the Board to create and enforce an official policy that bars teachers from applying their political views to their teaching and grading, and another that asks the board to prohibit the teaching of man-made global climate change as scientific fact in schools.

The latter was the topic of most remarks residents made to the Board during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Laura Kindregan, the Colorado head of the nationwide "Balanced Education for Everyone" campaign told Board Members her group is fine with the teaching of global warming in the classroom, but believes when the topic is introduced, teachers need to teach the "other side" of the climate change argument.

When asked what that other side was, Kindregan says, "That global warming doesn't exist, this is not the hottest our earth has ever been. There's science proving that our earth was much hotter during the medieval times, that we're going through a cycle."

"I wanted to support the Grand Junction community," says Kindregan. "What they have done with the initiation of Rose is really incredible."

Local biologist Richard Alward told Board Members the scientific community has been studying the effects of carbon dioxide on global temperatures since 1896, and the science to back up global warming is sound. He says it's important for students to learn about climate change because they will be the ones who have to deal with it later on.

"What I saw with these petitions was a motivation to introduce politics into the science classroom and I think that does harm to children, to the community, and the country," says Alward. "We have people who don't like some of the policy implications that are being proposed [because of global warming] and they attack science."

Pugliese collected 700 signatures for her global warming petition and 600 for her partisan politics one.

Because the petitions were turned in during the public comment portion of the meeting, Board Members did not respond to any comments made or take any official action on the issues.


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