Jeffrey Selman - Public Speaker
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Presented to
Jeffrey M. Selman
September 25, 2002
Atlanta, Georgia

“Tomorrow night the Cobb County School Board will be voting on a policy that would allow science teachers to introduce ‘disputed views’ on the origins of life. While the School Board asserts that this is a necessary element of providing a balanced education, it is merely a ploy by those who continue in the unending quest to introduce religion into public school science curriculums. It’s amazing—77 years after John Scopes was charged with violating Tennessee law for teaching evolution, parents and educators across the country are still clashing over what students should learn about the origins of man.

The impetus for this proposed policy comes at the heel of Cobb County pasting labels inside their science textbooks stating , “Evolution is a theory, not a fact” before advising them to read the material “with an open mind.”

Some parents probably saw the sticker and applauded it. Some saw it and felt uneasy, but chose not to do anything about it. Our Unsung Hero, Jeffrey Selman, saw it and decided to take action, unwittingly throwing himself into the public spotlight.

Jeffrey is the named plaintiff in a Federal Court suit against Cobb County School district asking for injunctive relief to remove these offensive stickers. The suit is being handled by the ACLU.

When the ADL read about Jeffrey in the paper, we called him to have a cup of coffee to learn about his plans to fight this, and to offer ADL’s assistance. He told us he didn’t initially call ADL because he didn’t view this as a “Jewish issue.” While we agreed, we told him that ADL has been on the forefront of fighting the creationism battle for years and offered our assistance with our resource material and in mobilizing the community to be more active.

The next day, Jeffrey called the ADL office. He said he now understands why it is a Jewish issue. He had just received a piece of hate mail attacking him as a “New York Jew” and spewing anti-Semitic garbage. Jeffrey did the right thing. He contacted the police and he contacted the ADL. We were able to ensure that one of our key contacts in the Cobb County police department stayed on top of the case.

Jeffrey, you have stood up and taken action in an important fight. As you now well know, this issue is getting a lot of attention not only locally but around the country. While you may have attracted more attention than you ever imagined, please know that you have our thanks and our support. This is a very important fight that will have long-term implications. You are truly a hero to the ADL.


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