HARRISONBURG, VA – Some parents in Virginia say a high school geography assignment is an attempt at Muslim indoctrination in a public school. They were so upset that the schools will be closed on Friday.
Following parental objections to the World Geography curriculum and ensuing related media coverage, the school division began receiving voluminous phone calls and electronic mail locally and from outside the area. As a result of those communications, the Sheriff’s Office and the school division coordinated to increase police presence at Augusta County schools and to monitor those communications. The communications have significantly increased in volume today and based on concerns regarding the tone and content of those communications, Sheriff Fisher and Dr. Bond mutually decided schools and school offices will be closed on Friday, December 18, 2015. While there has been no specific threat of harm to students, schools and school offices will be closed Friday, December 18, 2015. All extra-curricular activities are likewise cancelled for tonight, Thursday, December 17, through the weekend. We regret having to take this action, but we are doing so based on the recommendations of law enforcement and the Augusta County School Board out of an abundance of caution.
Kimberly Herndon says she felt her rights as a parent had been violated when her 9th grade son came home with a homework assignment. It asked him to copy the Shahada, the Islamic statement of faith which translates to, “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”
“Shocked that it was sent home, shocked that this was in the schools, shocked that this was right here in our small town.” said Kimberly Herndon.
The assignment says it’s meant to give the students, “An idea of the artistic complexity of calligraphy.”
Herndon says she feels the assignment tried to indoctrinate her child into the Islamic religion.
“There was no trying about it. The sheet that she gave out was pure doctrine in it’s origin.” said Kimberly Herndon.
Augusta County School Superintendent Dr. Eric Bond said, “Neither these lessons, nor any other lesson in the world geography course are an attempt at indoctrination to Islam or any other religion, or a request for students to renounce their own faith or profess any belief.”
He went on to say the lesson. “Attempts objectively to present world religions in a way that is interesting and interactive for students.”
On Tuesday night, dozens of people met at Good News Ministries to voice their own opinion. Herndon has not sent her child back to school since the incident happened last week.
“I will not have my children sit under a woman who indoctrinates them with the Islam religion when I am a Christian, and I’m going to stand behind Christ.” said Kimberly Herndon.
Meanwhile, the School Maintains The Lesson Is Consistent With The Standards Of Learning In Virginia.
The statement from Augusta County Public Schools concludes:
Finally, the Augusta County School Board and Dr. Bond appreciate parents bringing concerns directly to our attention, and a constructive and respectful dialogue between school and community is always welcome. As we have emphasized, no lesson was designed to promote a religious viewpoint or change any student’s religious belief. Although students will continue to learn about world religions as required by the state Board of Education and the Commonwealth’s Standards of Learning, a different, non-religious sample of Arabic calligraphy will be used in the future.