UNSUNG HERO AWARD
Jeffrey M. Selman
September 25, 2002
“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.