Court rejects suit from student seeking ban on teaching evolution

St. Petersburg, Russia - The Oktyabrsky district court in St. Petersburg has rejected a suit filed by a St. Petersburg school student, Maria Shraiber, that protested the predominance of evolution in her school's instruction on the origins of life, an Interfax correspondent reported.

The court also refused to satisfy the plaintiff's demand that the Education and Science Ministry apologize in writing for offending her religious feelings during the study of Darwinian theory in biology classes.

The plaintiff's representatives told the journalists that after they received a valid court decision, they would appeal against it in St. Petersburg City Court.

During the hearings of arguments, Maria Shraiber's representative proponed the issue saying that the school curriculum's parts dealing with the theories of evolution and of origin of man were tendentious and resulted in lowering the quality of education.

The Education and Science Ministry's representatives defended saying that the biblical theory of creation of the world, demanded by the plaintiffs to be inserted into the curriculum, was faith-based and unscientific.

Russian constitution guarantees free general education for everybody and also establishes Russian as a secular state. At the same time the constitution promises freedom of religion to all citizens.

According to the respondent, the general school curriculum is based upon these constitutional principles.