T-shirts worn by members of the Smith-Cotton High School band have been recalled by the school district because they contained images of evolution. The t-shirts featured an image of a monkey holding a brass instrument and progressing through various stages of evolution until eventually becoming a human. “I was disappointed with the image on the shirt,” said Sherry Melby, a band parent who teaches in the district. “I don’t think evolution should be associated with our school.” Assistant superintendent Brad Pollitt explained that the t-shirts were banned because they were imposing on religious views:
Though the shirts don’t violate the school’s dress code, Pollitt noted that the district is required by law to remain neutral on religion.
“If the shirts had said ‘Brass Resurrections’ and had a picture of Jesus on the cross, we would have done the same thing,” Pollitt said.
Law professor Jonathan Turley notes, “Evolution is not a religious issue. Extremists want to make evolution into a religious question, but it is not.”