Parents erupt after seventh-grade assignment teaches ‘Allah is the only God’

A Tennessee school district is teaching lessons in Islam but not in Christianity, and many parents are more than a little upset.

Parents of seventh-graders in the Maury County School District in Tennessee were distressed to discover their children were being taught the Five Pillars of Islam.

Concerned parent Julie Commander Mauck took her complaints directly to Facebook:

Will’s 7th grade homework…The 5 Pillars of Islam. I’m sure tonight will be a coloring homework on the Ten Commandments, right?

Posted by Julie Commander Mauck on Thursday, September 3, 2015

According to the local Spring Hill Home Page, school officials say they’re just following standards developed two years ago and implemented in 2014-15.

pic allah
photo source: Spring Hill Home Page.

Spring Hill Middle School parent Brandee Porterfield became especially concerned that one pillar, called the “Shahada,” says that “Allah is the only God.”

“These [papers] belong to my daughter in seventh grade at Spring Hill Middle. They have studied Islam for three weeks, but skipped the whole chapter on Christianity because it’s not in the state standards,” Porterfield told the Spring Hill Home Page.

Porterfield said she was told by the teacher and by principal Shanda Sparrow that students would not have to write the Shahada again.

But Maury County Director of Schools Chris Marczak is pleading with parents to have an open mind.

“If we are truly going to grow Maury County together, then we need to openly talk and discuss about what we want to emphasize in our county,” Marczak said Thursday.

Here is the complete statement issued by Marczak:

Message from Director Dr. Marczak: By now, many of you have heard what is taking place with concerns to the teaching section of middle school social studies. The standards that we have in place from the State of Tennessee are newer standards that were developed in 2013 and implemented last year, 2014-15 school year. In middle school, the standards have us address early American History, world history early civilizations to the Roman Empire, middle ages through exploration of the Americas, and colonization to reconstruction of the Americas. Our teachers work together to make sure that our students are learning what is expected through the Tennessee academic standards. For this last section on the Islamic World this past week, our educators had students complete an assignment that had an emphasis on Islamic Faith. The assignment covered some sensitive topics that are of importance to Islamic religion and caused some confusion around whether we are asking students to believe in or simply understand the religion. It is our job as a public school system to educate our students on world history in order to be ready to compete in a global society, not to endorse one religion over another or indoctrinate.

I encourage all Maury County parents to be their child’s first and main teacher. It is our job as parents of our own children to instill in them the beliefs of our individual households. It’s important that we establish a good working relationship with our children’s teachers and schools so that when there are questions or concerns, teachers and principals are the first line of asking. If we are truly going to Grow Maury County together, then we need to openly talk and discuss about what we want to emphasize in our county. I encourage you to talk with your children, talk with your teachers, and talk with your principals. We are here to help your children be prepared for Life.

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