--- June 7, 2004 -- Members of the Dover Area school board, unhappy with the 2002 edition of the textbook "Biology," published by Prentice Hall, said they wanted to include creationism in biology classes. Board member William Buckingham said the ninth-grade science book was "laced with Darwinism" and offended his Christian values.

--- June 8, 2004 -- Legal groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State warned school board members the district would likely be sued if it chose a textbook that teaches creationism.

--- June 15, 2004 -- Nearly 100 Dover residents and teachers attended a board meeting to continue debating whether creationism should be taught alongside evolution. School board members, residents and the head of the high school science department said they were concerned about mixing science and religion. Buckingham stood by his opposition to the Prentice Hall book, saying "Nearly 2,000 years ago someone died on a cross for us; shouldn't we have the courage to stand up for him?"

Board members Alan Bonsell and Noel Wenrich agreed with Buckingham, saying creationism should be taught to balance evolution.

--- Summer 2004 -- Americans United for the Separation of Church and State sent a letter to Buckingham, saying he and the board were inviting a lawsuit if they chose a textbook that teaches creationism.


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Buckingham also received a letter from Richard Thompson, president of the Thomas More Law Center based in Michigan, offering to represent the district for free if it was taken to court.

Buckingham said Thompson recommended the text "Of Pandas and People," which proposes the notion of intelligent design. Buckingham recommended the "Pandas" book at the board's next meeting, during which members voted to accept the Prentice Hall book but began looking into the "companion" book.

--- Oct. 4, 2004 -- Bonsell announced an "anonymous" donor intended to give about 50 copies of "Of Pandas and People" to the school district. Later in a court deposition, he said the donor was his father, Donald Bonsell, a former school board member.

--- Oct. 18, 2004: -- Dover became the first school district in the nation to explicitly mention intelligent design as an alternative "theory" to evolution. The board voted 6-3 to make students "aware of gaps/problems in Darwin's Theory of Evolution and of other theories of evolution including, but not limited to, intelligent design. Note: Origins of life will not be taught." The Panda book was to be placed in the biology classrooms as a reference and teachers were to read a statement about the "gaps" in Darwin's theory.

Voting in favor of the measure were Sheila Harkins, William Buckingham, Alan Bonsell, Jane Cleaver, Heather Geesey and Angie Yingling.

Board members Noel Wenrich and Casey Brown and her husband, Jeff Brown, voted against it.

--- Nov. 1, 2004 -- The creationism and intelligent design debate continued, with Wenrich storming out of what would have been his last meeting as a board member because he could "no longer sit with these people." He asked Buckingham for an apology, saying that Buckingham and other board members attacked him and members of the audience who disagreed with them. Wenrich said he was called unpatriotic and his religious beliefs were questioned because he didn't vote for the intelligent design policy.

--- Nov. 18, 2004 -- The board replaced four resigned board members by appointing Sherrie Leber, the Rev. Ed Rowand, Eric Riddle and Ron Short. Short and Riddle spoke out in favor of intelligent design at an earlier public meeting. Thirteen residents applied for the position.

--- Dec. 6, 2004 -- Yingling announced she would resign because, though she voted for intelligent design, she did so because she didn't want to be seen as an atheist. She said she had been misled about what the curriculum changes meant. During a resignation speech in February, she told the board that its religious agendas "are spiraling out of control" and members appear to be "religious zealots, preaching from the shadows."

--- Dec. 14, 2004 -- Eleven parents joined with the ACLU and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State to file a federal lawsuit against the board, claiming it had religious motives for putting the intelligent design policy in place.

--- Jan. 7, 2005 -- District administrators announced they, instead of high school science teachers, would read the intelligent design statement to students. Teachers protested reading the statement because, under the state's code of conduct for teachers, teachers cannot knowingly misrepresent subject matter. The teachers said they would be breaking the code of conduct if they read the statement because they know intelligent design is not a theory based on science and research.

--- Jan. 18 and 19, 2005: Administrators read the statement to more than 40 biology students. Dover became the first public school district in the nation to require mention of intelligent design in science class as an alternative to evolution. At the end of the school day, some of the students said they were confused about what the statement meant.

--- May 17, 2005 -- A record number of voters went to the polls to vote for a record number of school board candidates. A field of 18 candidates was narrowed to 14: Seven were incumbent school board members and seven were members of Dover CARES, (Citizens Actively Reviewing Educational Strategies). The incumbents won the Republican ballot; Dover CARES candidates will have to run as Democrats. Due to resignations, eight of nine positions on the board are up for election in November.

--- July 27, 2005: -- U.S, Middle District Judge John E. Jones denied the publisher of "Of Pandas and People," the Foundation for Thought and Ethics, from intervening in the suit. Jon Buell, founder and president of the Texas-based publisher, said he should be able to join the suit because his sales would be affected by the trial's outcome. Jones said Buell didn't meet the criteria necessary to intervene.

--- Aug. 1, 2005 -- The board accepted William Buckingham's resignation. In a letter to the board, Buckingham said he planned to move south, citing health problems.

--- Sept. 19, 2005 -- The two reporters who covered Dover's school board meetings during discussions about intelligent design could be held in contempt of court and fined or imprisoned because the newspapers don't want them to have to testify.

Since the school board members deny making controversial comments, the ACLU wants Heidi Bernhard-Bubb, freelance reporter for The York Dispatch, and Joseph Maldonado, freelance reporter for the York Daily Record, to testify that their reports were accurate. But Thompson, whose firm has maintained the reporters are biased and didn't cover "the whole story," wants to ask the reporters more in-depth questions. Jones orders the reporters to testify about what they "saw and heard," but the newspapers are appealing the order.

--- Sept. 26, 2005: The trial starts in a federal courthouse in Harrisburg.