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17.2 Epperson v. Arkansas

In 1968, the United States Supreme Court invalidated a forty year old Arkansas statute that prohibited the teaching of evolution in the public schools. A Little Rock high school biology teacher, Susan Epperson, filed suit charging the law violated the constitutional protection of free speech. The Court held that the United States Constitution prohibits a state from requiring, in the words of the majority opinion, “that teaching and learning must be tailored to the principles or prohibitions of any religious sect or dogma.” But the Supreme Court decision also suggested that creationism could be taught in addition to evolution.