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The State Board of Education's decision to de-emphasize the teaching of evolution has stirred a political maelstrom around the state and nation, but hasn't stirred passions here in Clay County.

"I haven't heard one comment since this issue was raised earlier this summer," Jean Frigon, USD-379 school board president said this morning. "It really surprised me."

The Board standards reportedly have changed to allow the teaching of any theory of man's presence on earth, including evolution.

But Frigon said the changes as reported in the press should have little effect on communities because local districts can teach what they want now and do not ban the teaching of any theory.

"I've familiarized myself with the standards and what we're teaching in USD-379," Frigon said. "I'm comfortable with teaching evolution presented as a scientific theory."

She said comments she has received from patrons of other districts and board members indicate the issue isn't stirring anyone's blood up yet.

Frigon said no one on the USD-379 Board has expressed any concern about the teaching of evolution. "I heard some concern from a couple of patrons four or five years ago, but I haven't heard anything lately," she said.

USD-379 Superintendent Charlie Mansfield said officials haven't seen the new standards yet and that any changes wouldn't take place until next year.

While the district doesn't discourage the teaching of any particular theory, it doesn't encourage theories other than the acknowledgment that "life exhibits adaptation and evolution."

Frigon said she wouldn't be opposed to mentioning "creationism" in the classroom and is satisfied that USD-379 graduates understand that evolution is a scientific "theory."

She said the matter does not affect only high school biology classes, that some issues relating to the evolution of life are introduced as early as kindergarten in the district.