COLUMBIA — Last week, as many high school football programs began their season, so did many high school band programs. But one band possibly faced more controversy than the rest when Sedalia's Smith-Cotton band program T-shirts were recalled because of their evolution theme.
Each shirt features a monkey progressing through stages of evolution until becoming a human, and a brass instrument also goes through certain stages of evolution. Because this depicted a belief of evolution at a public school, some parents responded upset that the concept of evolution was associated with the school, according to an Associated Press article.
The Sedalia Democrat responded with an editorial saying that "school administrators overreacted to the pressure from some parents who obviously saw the image as promoting the theory of evolution and a threat to their own Christian beliefs."
There's been a long history of the idea of separating church and state in this country, dating back to the first clause of the First Amendment. Assistant Superintendent Brad Pollitt said the school 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.
But in Missouri, there's nothing wrong with teaching evolution. But in many years, including this one, a bill seems to come up in the General Assembly that deals with evolution in the classroom. But in the meantime, if it's OK to teach evolution, is it OK to have it on a band T-shirt?
Was the outcry about the Smith-Cotton High School band's T-shirts appropriate?