Dover board member back
Bill Buckingham missed a meeting appointing legal defense for the
By JOSEPH MALDONADO
For the Daily Record/Sunday News
Friday, December 31, 2004
Dover Area School Board member Bill Buckingham, who headed the board's
push to have intelligent design included in the district's science
curriculum and then missed three board meetings including the one at
which the school board appointed a legal team to defend a lawsuit over
the new policy is back on the scene.
"All I can tell you is that I had to take care of some personal
business," he said Thursday.
Before he left in early December, he said, representatives from the
Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., advised him not to say where
he was going or what the personal matters pertained to.
On Dec. 20, without Buckingham present, the board voted to appoint the
Thomas More center to defend it against a lawsuit filed on behalf of 11
parents in the district who do not want intelligent design to be taught
in Dover Area biology classes.
More than a week ago, Thomas More center president Richard Thompson said
he wanted to get in touch with Buckingham but didn't know where to find
Buckingham said he'll attend the board's meeting Monday.
"I hope I haven't given the impression that I have been ducking the
issues or hiding," he said.
Buckingham said he is ready for the district's day in court.
"It has always been my contention that this board hasn't done anything
wrong," he said. "So let's get on with it."
Attorneys for parents who are suing the district have said they want to
depose Buckingham to help them determine whether to file a request for a
temporary restraining order in hopes of preventing intelligent design
from being taught this semester in ninth-grade biology class. That could
occur as early as Jan. 13.
Monday, former board president Alan Bonsell, current president Sheila
Harkins and district Supt. Richard Nilsen are scheduled to give legal
depositions on the issue.
Intelligent design suggests that life was created by a designer, which
critics say equates to a deity or god. They argue that teaching the
theory violates the constitutional separation of church and state.
"We do not want to teach religion," said Buckingham, who is chairman of
the curriculum committee. "That's not what this is about."
Former board president Alan Bonsell reiterated what he has said since
the curriculum change.
"The board simply wants to provide an alternative, scientific theory of
how the world works," he said. "And intelligent design is science."
Neither Buckingham nor Bonsell would say any more about the curriculum
change on the advice of their lawyers.