A Tennessee mother has launched a crusade against the textbooks used in the local school district after she found out her daughter was learning about Islam as part of the 7th grade social studies curriculum.
Michelle Edmisten claims her daughter’s “personal religious beliefs were violated” with lessons about Islam, according to the Kingsport Times News. Her daughter opted out of those classes and was given zeroes for refusing the work.
“Those are zeroes that we proudly took and we will not compromise,” Edmisten was quoted as saying.
Speaking at a school board meeting on Monday night, Edmisten demanded that the district remove the textbook.
“It is time as parents, teachers and administrators we stand up and take back our families, our schools and our country,” Edmisten said, according to local CBS affiliate WJHL.
“I would like to see parents, Christians, veterans, anyone that’s anyone, stand up for this fight,” she told the TV station. “How can I, as a Christian, say that I have these values? And I want to instill these values in my daughter, but then say it’s okay, go ahead and do it.”
Edmisten was the only parent to speak about the issue.
The school board explained the process for removing a textbook and said any replacement would have to meet current state standards. According to the state board of education’s website, those standards include educating students about Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism in 6th grade, and Islam in 7th grade, “including Islam’s historical connections to Judaism and Christianity.”
The National Council for the Social Studies, a professional organization that helps support social studies teachers and programs, called the study of religions an “essential” part of the curriculum:
“Knowledge about religions is not only a characteristic of an educated person but is necessary for effective and engaged citizenship in a diverse nation and world. Religious literacy dispels stereotypes, promotes cross-cultural understanding and encourages respect for the rights of others to religious liberty.”
Tennessee is currently in the process of changing its standards. However, a draft of the proposed standards also includes instruction in world religions.
(h/t Raw Story)