A Virginia school district had to cancel classes and a holiday concert performance earlier this month after a class assignment incited the rage of all the parents.
Parents are calling for the teacher who created the assignment to be fired. The Staunton, Virginia school has been rocked by a worksheet that had students reprint in Arabic a Muslim statement of faith. What was intended to be a “calligraphy” lesson, had the children copy down the Shahada. The statement is the same as the one printed on the flag ISIS waves.
It translates to: “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”
While the phrase is prolific in Islamic art and is recited during daily prayer, parents are banding together to stand against how damaging the exercise could be.
The administration is claiming that the worksheet came from instructional materials that also had Christian and Jewish examples.
Tens of thousands of emails and Facebook posts have made enough of a stir that the Superintendent, Eric Bond, said there is “a risk of harm to school officials”.
The teacher is worried about her family and she, the principal, as well as Bond have been assigned security from the sheriff’s department.
While support for the teacher and the school has arisen, some parents are ready to take the issue to court. One mother, Kimberly Herndon, said of the teacher, “She gave up the Lord’s time. She gave it up and gave it to Muhammad.”
The school has said that it will use a non-religious example in the future and that the assignment was just to “demonstrate” the complexity of written Arabic.
The Virginia Board of Education requires that students learn about world religions and Islamic culture. But a spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Education has said that the assignment was not from state materials.
What do you think? Did the parents overreact?
META: One teacher is in a lot of hot water over her lesson choice.