Shouldn’t a high school world history course be allowed to actually cover, I don’t know, world history, without parents threatening the school about it?
Kevin Wood was issued a no-trespass order last week after a telephone call with La Plata High Vice Principal Shannon Morris on Thursday. Wood called to air complaints regarding his daughter’s world history assignment that asked students to examine elements of the Islamic religion.
Morris and La Plata High Principal Evelyn Arnold reported to the Charles County Public Schools central office that Wood in his phone call had threatened to upset the school environment in some way Monday, according to school spokeswoman Katie O’Malley-Simpson. O’Malley-Simpson declined to elaborate on what threats Wood had made.
Well, Mr. Wood seems nice.
Wood, a former corporal with the U.S. Marine Corps, where he was enlisted for eight years, said in an interview Monday afternoon outside of the school system’s central office that he did not wish for his daughter, a junior at La Plata, to learn the Islamic religion, a faith he does “not believe in,” he said.
OK, you don’t believe in it, that’s fine. Lots of people don’t! Most of the people in the world are, in fact, non-Muslims! But surely we can acknowledge that, within the annals of the history of the world, Islam is A Thing That Happened, and that, as such, it is fair game for any “world history” course, can’t we?
Wood and his wife, Melissa Wood, said they reached out to the school last week and asked that their daughter be removed from her world history course for the duration that the class covered Islam. The Woods said they spoke by a telephone to a woman, who they identified as “Ms. Pearl,” who listened to their request and said she would investigate the possibility of an alternative assignment.
Short of employing quantum mechanics to send their daughter to an alternative universe where Islam never developed, I’m not sure what the “alternative assignment” could have been here.
It was Morris who returned their phone call, the Woods said. Morris informed them that the teacher could not offer an alternative assignment, and any assignment the Woods’ daughter missed would receive a failing grade.
“I told her straight up ‘you could take that Muslim-loving piece of paper and shove it up your white [expletive],'” Kevin Wood said in an interview. “If [students] can’t practice Christianity in school, they should not be allowed to practice Islam in school.”
OK, couple of things to unpack here. First, I get that you’re not up on the whole Islam thing, Mr. Wood, but pieces of paper cannot actually be practicing Muslims nor can they harbor positive feelings for Muslims. Second, who the hell said anything about “practicing” anything? Have we reached the point where we as a society are unable to distinguish between “learning about” something and “practicing” that thing? Because if we have, I really am going to start rooting for the meteor.
Kevin Wood, who identified himself as Catholic, denied that he had issued any threats or that he had planned to show up on the La Plata campus Monday.
In a later phone call with Morris, Kevin Wood said he blasted the school for violating his daughter’s “constitutional rights” and said he would contact the media and “bring a [expletive]storm down on them like they’ve never seen.”
What possible constitutional right could be in play here? Any ideas?
You will likely not be surprised to note that internet cesspool Breitbart has picked up Wood’s story and applied its own brand of facts-optional “journalism” to it, whereby the school assignment to describe the basic tenets of Islam becomes “list the benefits of Islam” and the assignment itself becomes “Muslim homework,” which is only a thing if you’re attending an actual Islamic religious school. The Blaze got pictures of the despicable Muslim homework in question, and it’s, as you’d expect, totally benign. Fox actually scored an interview with Wood, in which he offers this hottest of takes:
“I don’t agree with it,” Wood told Fox News in a phone interview. “You can’t study God or Christianity in school. You’ve got atheist suing schools for saying ‘God’ in the pledge and not being able to say prayers before football games, but we can force-feed our kids Islam.”
You probably know where this is going:
“This particular unit is on the formation of the Middle Eastern empires, and the students learn the basic concepts of Islam along with politics and culture,” [O’Malley-Simpson] said. “When kids study the Renaissance and Reformation, they study concepts of Christianity. When they learn how China and India developed, they learn about Hinduism and Buddhism.”
So actually you can study Christianity in school, or at least you could, if parents like Kevin Wood weren’t ready to take a wrecking ball to the school when it came time to study any other religions.
The Woods apparently want Muhammad taught alongside Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, which would kind of stretch the bounds of space-time in what one assumes is a mostly chronological history course:
The Woods argued, if you’re going to teach Islam, include those current events in the lesson.
“That’s I guess our biggest concern right now is how they’re teaching it and what is really going on right now in this world,” said Melissa Wood.
Her husband Kevin is a firefighter and retired United States Marine. Before being honorably discharged, Kevin Wood said he has been to war, fought against Islamic extremists and watched as those extremists killed his friends.
“[Schools] are not teaching about radical Islam right now – going around beheading people in America and Australia and they’re not teaching that. They’re just teaching, ‘Oh, it’s peaceful.’ And it’s not peaceful,” argued Kevin Wood.
You wouldn’t teach kids about, say, the Salem Witch Trials in the same historical unit that covers Jesus, because these things happened, you know, centuries apart. “Radical Islam” is a modern development that would properly be taught when the class gets to modern times. But I guess when the lesson is on Islam then you have to do things differently.
This whole story is a case study in why we don’t teach kids about world religions in school, all to the detriment of those kids and their later ability to understand and accept the world around them. For most schools it’s easier to teach history under the bizarre constraint that organized religion never existed, because at least that way nobody loses their shit when you get to the one religion they don’t like. To La Plata High School’s credit, though, so far it appears that they’re sticking by the assignment, or, as Wonkette put it:
The school administration says the assignment covers Middle Eastern cultures and historical empires, and the content is mandated by the state board of education, which is apparently now located in Dubai. Since any alternate reading would also have to cover the actual places and events of the unit, there was apparently no way to just wish the history of Islam out of existence as the Woods had politely requested. The school also said it will not discontinue teaching world history in its world history classes.
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