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Secular Student Alliance Board Member Matthew LaClair Published in L.A. Times

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Matthew LaClair
Matthew LaClair will be presenting at the 2008 Secular Student Alliance conference. This conference is being held jointly with the conference of the American Humanist Association and the world congress of the International Humanist and Ethical Union.

Secular Student Alliance board member Matthew LaClair is the author of an Op-Ed piece in the April 27 edition of the LA Times. In it, he talks about the recent controversy where a nationally used American Government textbook was found to contain several mistakes and conservative bias. Matthew, with the help of the Center for Inquiry, alerted the publishers of the book (along with the media) about these problems. The full report can be found on the Center's website.

Matthew urges students to not remain silent when these misstatements occur. He writes:

What is most distressing is not that some public school teachers preach their religion, or that some authors put politics ahead of education. It is that it is so rare for anyone to call them on it. This text is widely used. Yet to my knowledge, no one has challenged these incorrect and misleading statements.


Fiction for Fiction

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From friendlyatheist.com

A few weeks ago, Jennifer at Purdue University threw out the idea of having people swap their Bibles (or other religious texts) for novels: Fiction for Fiction.

The event took place recently and Jennifer gave us an update:

We ended up receiving a bunch of books, mainly Bibles or other Christian spiritual books. We also had people turn in a Book of Mormon, the Tanakh, and two Bhagavad Gitas. While we did get a lot of glares or confused looks from people passing by, we also got a ton of smiles. It was great to have people come up and thank us for having the event (since Purdue almost always has people passing out Bibles or preaching). A lot of theists (mostly Christian) came up to ask what we were doing. Once we explained that we were trying to promote critical thinking of what you read (and that we weren't burning the books), many of them supported our message. On our second day we were actually set up next to a Baptist group handing out free popcorn, but they were the nicest of all.

SSA eMpirical No. 28 - Making Headlines!

Secular Student Alliance Board Member Matthew LaClair Challenges High School Textbook

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UPDATE #1: Matthew LaClair will be presenting at the 2008 Secular Student Alliance conference. This conference is being held jointly with the conference of the American Humanist Association and the world congress of the International Humanist and Ethical Union. The Secular Student Alliance is offering travel grants to students who wish to attend the conference. The deadline for these grants is April 21st.

Matthew LaClair

UPDATE #2: Secular Student Alliance Board Member Matthew LaClair Published in L.A. Times

Once more, high school senior Matthew LaClair, now beginning a term on the Secular Student Alliance (SSA) board of directors, has attracted the attention of national media by challenging some aspect of his public school education.

LaClair, 18, a student at Kearny High School in New Jersey, was disturbed by the way his Advanced Placement government text American Government presented such topics as global warming and the separation of church and state. He sought and received support from science and legal experts, whose criticisms are being evaluated by publisher Houghton Mifflin.

During his junior year LaClair recorded his history teacher for several days as he proselytized to the class and preached salvation through Jesus. The teacher was eventually disciplined, but LaClair was treated harshly by some community members and fellow students.

"I'm proud that Matthew is on the SSA Board of Directors," said SSA chair Hemant Mehta. "He represents the perfect example of what student activists can accomplish when they have the courage speak up."

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