McLean v. Arkansas Documentation Project

Testimony of Ed Bullington, American history teacher, Pulaski Co. Special School District (Plaintiffs Witness) - transcript paragraph formatted version. 


MR. CHILDS: Your Honor, pursuant to your ruling, have marked Defendants' Exhibit 6 and 7 for identification.

THE COURT: Okay, Sir. Those will be refused and I'll show that you made an offer of proof of those.

MR. CHILDS: I have nothing further of this witness.

MR. CRAWFORD: The witness may be excused.

THE COURT: You may step down, Mr. Wood.



called on behalf of the Plaintiffs herein, after having been first duly sworn or affirmed, was examined and testified as follows:



Q: State your name and your address, please?

A: My name is Ed Bullington. I reside at **** ****** ****** ****, Little Rock, Arkansas.

Q: And by whom are you employed?

A: Pulaski County Special School District.

Q: Tell me a little bit about your educational background, your degrees from the time you graduated college, please?

A: I graduated from Ouachita Baptist University with a Bachelor of Science in Education. Currently, I'm nearing completion of a Master's Degree in Educational


A: (Continuing) Administration from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

Q: How many hours do you lack, Mr. Bullington?

A: Nine hours.

Q: Can you tell me a little bit about your teaching experience?

A: I've been employed in the Pulaski County District for the past fifteen years.

Q: What subjects do you teach now?

A: Currently I am teaching American History and International Relations.

Q: And can you tell me some of the subjects you have taught within the last very few years?

A: I have recently taught sociology, economics, Arkansas History, American Government.

Q: What is your certification by the State Department of Education?

A: Social studies certification.

Q: Can you tell me, in addition to those subjects which you have already referred to, what other subjects you are allowed to teach pursuant to that certification?

A: In addition to those subjects, I'm certified in psychology and world history and perhaps others.

Q: Do you belong to any professional organizations?

A: Yes, sir. I'm a member of the United Teaching


A: (Continuing) Profession. That includes the Pulaski Association of Classroom Teachers, the Arkansas Education Association and the National Education Association, as well as a coalition entitled Coalition Advocating Responsible Education of which I serve as chairperson.

Q: And does that bear the acronym CARE?

A: Yes, Sir.

Q: Have you held any offices in any of these organizations other than CARE?

A: Yes. I have been past president of the PACT?

Q: And PACT is the Pulaski Association of Classroom Teachers?

A: Yes, Sir.

Q: All right. Have you had an opportunity to read and to review Act 590 with particular concern regarding the effect that it will have upon you as a social studies teacher?

A: Yes, Sir, I have.

Q: Does Act 590 affect subject matter other than science?

A: Interestingly enough, it does.

Q: Do you have a copy of Act 590 in front of you?

A: Yes, Sir.

Q: And can you read for the Court, please, those portions of that Act 590 which would apply to your


Q: (Continuing) teaching area?

A: In Section I it says, "Lectures, textbooks, library materials or educational programs that deal in any way with the subject of the origin of man, life, the earth or the universe." And in Section 7 it enumerates those subjects. And in my area, it enumerates specifically sociology, world history and social studies.

Q: Now, have you made an effort to determine which subject matter in your various courses would trigger the requirements of Act 590?

A: Yes, I have.

Q: And in regard to that, have you reviewed the various textual material in some of the textbooks you are now using and have used in the last year or two?

A: Yes.

Q: Let me hand you three documents, which I have marked for purposes of identification as Plaintiffs' Exhibit Numbers 37, 38 and 39, and ask you if you can identify those one at a time?

A: Exhibit 37 is an excerpt from audio visual kit entitled "America Comes of Age: The Years Since 1917" part three, "Dissent and Change". Exhibit Number 38 is an excerpt from Our Common Heritage: A World History. And it's the basic world


A: (Continuing) history textbook. Exhibit 39 is an excerpt from the sociology book entitled Sociology by Landis.

Q: Are these all used at the high school level?

A: Yes, they are.

Q: Let's start with 37, the first textbook you identified.

A: Mr. Kaplan, this is an excerpt from an audio visual Kit rather than a textbook.

Q: I'm sorry. The first matter that you did identify. Tell me how you believe this will trigger the Act 590 requirements?

A: There is a segment in this kit dealing with the Scopes trial, in which they discuss the issue of evolution as it related to being prohibited in Tennessee.

Q: In your course, do you also bring the Scopes trial up to date and mention the Epperson trial or the Epperson case?

A: Yes, I do.

Q: And tell how in your view, this would trigger the requirements of, this whole matter would trigger the requirements of Act 590?

A: If I discuss and update the Scopes trial and deal the subject of evolution which has to do with the beginnings of life, then Section I is activated which


A: (Continuing) requires that if you deal in any way with the subject of the origin of man, life, the earth or the universe, then you have to deal with that in social studies.

Q: Have you ever taught science?

A: No, sir, I have not. I am only certified to teach social studies.

Q: Are you competent, at least in your own view, to deal with the scientific matters as they arise in connection with evolution and evolution theory?

A: From a political or social viewpoint, yes. From a scientific viewpoint, no.

Q: Can you tell me with regard to Exhibit Number 38 how that would trigger the requirements of the Act?

A: In two ways. In the beginning, it talks about prehistoric man and how man is evolved from very early people, the Peking and Java man to the Neanderthal man, Cro-Magnon and so on. And it has, for example, a chart starting with 500,000 years ago. In the definition section of this Act, it defines creation science in Section 4(a)(6), a relatively recent inception of the earth and living kinds. I believe that point, that would certainly be involved in that Act.

Q: Is there anything in your view, in your knowledge, in your educational background, in your fifteen years of


Q: (Continuing) teaching experience, which would equip you in any way to deal with a balancing of this material from your world history book?

A: No. The definition says to teach creation science, and it defines it in a scientific manner. And I don't have that background.

Q: Can't you now tell me what it is in Exhibit 39 which you see as triggering the requirements of the Act?

A: Yes, sir. On page 308 of this textbook, there is a section entitled "Religion, a Universal Need of Humanity."

Q: All right. Tell me what it is on 308 that in your view is going to trigger Act 590?

A: Well, there are two paragraphs in particular I would like to refer to. It's on the right hand column and it begins, "Nonliterate people often think that spirits inhabit all things and bring about events in any manner they choose." It goes on to talk about mystery and miracles and supernatural events. But the paragraph in question is the one entitled or beginning, "In advanced societies science has progressed so far that we have little need to attribute to the caprice of spirits or ghosts the simple events of daily life.

Q: As you read this, slow down. You're getting too fast.


A: That's what my students say. "With a greater understanding of our world, religious ideals have changed." This sentence in particular then, "Attributing to God the origin of life and the universe, we try to discover the natural laws. We try to govern ourselves by these laws rather than expect God to change them to suit us."

Q: In what way is that going to trigger the requirements of Act 590, at least, as you see it as a classroom teacher?

A: As I understand that, of course, on the surface it's talking about the origin of life. So on the surface, its face value triggers that. Also, as I understand those paragraphs, we are talking about on the one hand attributing to God the origin of life; on the other hand we are talking about an evolutionary process where we discover natural laws, and we separate the two.

Q: Mr. Bullington, as a classroom teacher, at least by virtue of this last exhibit that we've looked at, you already talk about religion. Let's assume for the moment that Act 590 even deals with religious material. Why is it that you feel you can't deal with and balance Act 590 inasmuch as you already deal with some religious content in your classes?

A: I deal with religious content in a political and


A: (Continuing) social context, not from the standpoint of advancing or promoting. And from my background and my understanding of creation science and from visiting with the students, it is religion. Act 590 is religion, and you are advancing religion when you teach this.

Q: What is it about Act 590, as you have read Act 590 and the definitional structure of it, that you view as religion and advancing religion?

A: The definition section.

Q: Where have you ever seen those kinds of definitional structures before and ideas advanced?

A: From the time I can remember, I've been going to church. And in Sunday School, our Sunday School instructors— I've never attended a revival in which there wasn't at least one sermon on the beginning of life and creationism. And these type of things are always talked about in Sunday School classes and in those sermons at revivals.

Q: Is it possible for you, then, just to omit the materials that you have talked to us about in Exhibits 37, 38 and 39 and just not deal with that material?

A: It's possible, but I think it would be irresponsible on my part to do so.

Q: Why?


A: I've thought about this a great deal. And from one viewpoint, I think it would be ignoring important historical events and important historical knowledge. But in addition to that, I have students who intend to progress beyond high school level into advanced training.

Q: Particularly in your courses, are you able to tell us what percentage of the young men and women who are in our courses who go on to institutions of higher learning?

A: In International Relations almost a hundred percent. In my regular American History courses, it's approximately fifty percent or better. And my concern is that when these students are taking examinations for entrance into colleges and universities, and they haven't been exposed to this material and they are asked questions about this material, then they are going to be at a loss. They will be handicapped in gaining admission to some colleges and universities. I can't state that categorically, but I would fear that.

Q: Mr. Bullington, would you omit these materials from your classes?

A: No. 22.

Q: Mr. Bullington, would you balance these materials as required by Act 590 by some reference to the teaching of creation science?

A: I don't feel like I can in that I'm not a science


A: (Continuing) teacher, and the Act specifically addresses the teaching of creation science. I would be jeopardizing, for one thing, our accreditation dealing with certification of teachers out of their field.

Q: Mr. Bullington, you told us already that you have served as the president of PACT. In connection with that service, have you had occasion to be with and to represent teachers whose contracts have not been renewed by the Pulaski County Special District?

A: Yes, I have.

Q: And can you tell me the frequency of such familiarity with these processes and with these events?

A: During my tenure as president and subsequent years working with the various committees and organizations in PACT, we deal with this every year, anywhere from two to three to four formal cases as well as numerous informal cases.

Q: Can you tell me particularly if they might relate to the kinds of matters that might come up under the implementation of 590, some of the reasons for which teachers have had contracts which have not been renewed?

A: Yes. Parental complaints have sparked recommendations for terminations and nonrenewals. Of course, those oftentimes come from their students. There is an interesting note the other day, for example,


A: (Continuing) when I was back in my classroom. We were discussing this case. They were asking me about it. And they viewed, had two observations. One, that it was religion. And, two, when I explained to them about the balanced treatment concept in the law, they indicated that they would monitor it, the students would monitor it, and they would tell their parents if a teacher wasn't doing it properly. So I can see very easily how students would become sort of vigilante groups, monitoring teachers and recommending to parents, `well, this teacher is not doing a good job', and that resulting in a complaint to the principal and resulting in complaints from administration.

Q: Have you been instrumental in the adoption by the Pulaski County Special School District of a policy regarding academic responsibility?

A: Yes, I have.

Q: Let me hand you a document which has been marked for purposes of identification as Plaintiffs' Exhibit Number 36 and ask you if you can identify that document?

A: This is the policy that was drafted and presented by the Coalition Advocating Responsible Education to the Pulaski County Special School District. It was subsequently amended in a couple of areas and adopted by the school board.


Q: Can you tell us approximately how old this document is and how long it has been in effect?

A: Almost two months.

Q: So it's a quite recent publication, is that correct, or policy?

A: Yes. It was adopted, if my memory serves me correct, on October 13th.

MR. KAPLAN: Your Honor, that concludes my interrogation of Mr. Bullington. Pursuant to an agreement which we have reached with counsel for the State, they have asked and we have agreed to defer his cross examination until after the direct examination of Ms. Marianne Wilson, if that is satisfactory with the Court.

THE COURT: All right.

MR. KAPLAN: Your Honor, I would move admission of Plaintiffs' Exhibit 36, 37, 38 and 39.

THE COURT: They will be received.



called on behalf of the Plaintiffs herein, after having been first duly sworn or affirmed, was examined and testified as follows:



Q: Tell us your name and address, please?

Continue to Marianne Wilson's testimony

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