By: Heather Smith, Executive Director, ACLU of South Dakota
South Dakota is already dead last in the nation when it comes to education so why are our politicians spending so much of their time trying to undermine science education around the state?  

This isn’t the first time South Dakota lawmakers have tried to prohibit and undermine the teaching of evolution in its public schools in an effort to advance creationism, creation science, and other religious beliefs pertaining to the origin of life. But this year’s bill is different.  For one, the bills’ sponsors got smarter (or rather sneakier) with their language and have drafted the bill in a way that is meant to cast evolution and other scientific subjects as controversial or “subjects that may cause debate and disputation.”  In fact, there is no debate in the legitimate scientific community.  Make no mistake, SB 114 is meant to open the door for teachers to introduce the alleged scientific evidence against evolution or to teach the (made-up) controversy. 
By Jen Petersen, Office Manager

Lets face it: A baby's got to eat, and there's nothing political about it. It seems obvious that a mother should be permitted to provide sustenance to her child wherever nature and necessity dictates. The act of breastfeeding is natural, and there are countless health benefits for both mother and child. There's nothing radical about nurturing and feeding a child. Or is there?
By Cassandra Stubbs, Director, ACLU Capital Punishment Project

Serial, the pop culture podcast phenomenon, isn't just a well-produced and addictive listening experience (though it is both of those things). By questioning the validity of some criminal justice procedures and educating its listeners to ask questions, especially when someone's life is on the line, the podcast has done a great public service: Because the case of Adnan Syed is not particularly unique.

By: Jen Petersen
If you feel a certain panic in the air about the news of a handful of nurses and doctors in the United States who have contracted Ebola, youre not alone.

The news of the Ebola epidemic in primarily three West African countries (Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone) and a handful of subsequent infections in the US have segments of the public and elected officials calling for the quarantine of those traveling from affected regions. The American Civil Liberties Union believes the civil rights and liberties of affected people must be taken into account in formulating a measured response to the epidemic.

By Tyler Brandt (originally published here)

I've been out to my family and friends since I was in the 5th grade. I'm not ashamed of being gay, and I don't hide who I am from anyone.

After school ended last semester, I wanted to find a summer job for the usual teenage reasons: spending money for clothes, a cell phone, going out with friends, and maybe even save up a little too. I applied for a crew member position at the Taco John's in my town – Yankton, South Dakota – in early June, interviewed the next day, and started working the night shift the day after that.

By: Heather Smith, Executive Director of the ACLU of South Dakota

The alleged suicide of death row prisoner James McVay exposes the widespread deficiencies of mental health care throughout South Dakotas criminal justice system. Even after being found guilty but mentally ill and housed on a mental health ward the state was unable to protect McVay from himself. The tragedy of the death penalty is twofold when applied to those who suffer from mental illness; no one is healed, and everyone loses.

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