Residents of Darby, Mont., have just put a stop to an attempt to teach religion in science classes.
On Tuesday night, voters in the small town overwhelmingly chose two school board candidates who support teaching evolution. They rejected one board incumbent and another candidate supported by a local minister who proposed teaching "intelligent design." (One of the defeated candidates was Gina Schallenberger, the board chair and a vocal supporter of creationism.)
The winning candidates, Erik Abrahamsen and Bob Wetzsteon, said the community looks forward to leaving the controversy behind. "The vast majority of the taxpayers were certainly heard," Wetzsteon told the Ravalli Republic newspaper in nearby Hamilton. "I'm thinking this is a victory for the school district more than for Eric and I."
An administrative assistant at the town's high school told the newspaper, "The school is just glowing. Everybody is just psyched."
Attorneys with Americans United had been monitoring the situation in Darby. Last month, AU sent a public information request to education officials in Darby, asking for copies of all documents relating to the decision to teach "intelligent design" in case it was necessary to litigate the matter.
The controversy in Darby may have had a ripple effect throughout northwest Montana. The Republic reported that two creationist ministers in Hamilton sought seats on that city's school board, highlighting their support of "intelligent design." Hamilton voters were apparently not impressed. Both candidates were defeated.