No matter what one’s faith, all religions have played a role in shaping the history of our world. Unfortunately, this Maryland dad didn’t get the memo, and threatened his daughter’s high school because her homework mentioned Islam as a part of world history.
In fact, the father’s reaction was so over-the-top that La Plata High School has issued a rarely-utilized No Trespass order against Kevin Wood, a former Marine, who called the school threatening to disrupt classes if his daughter’s world history class continued to include, as part of a comprehensive overview of world religions, Islam and its contribution to the history of civilization.
“The assignment has been given for years,” said history teacher Katie-O’Malley-Simpson. “This particular parent had a problem with the assignment last Thursday.”
“It is unusual [to ban a parent from a school],” she added. “We don’t file no trespassing charges lightly. We would only do that when we feel someone has threatened the safety of staff and students.”
O’Malley-Simpson said that Wood had threatened to come down to the school and cause problems. “Therefore, to insure the safety of the staff and students, he was banned from the school,” she said.
“This is a world history class,” Simpson explained. “We are not teaching religion. Part of those world history studies involves the economics of a region and part of that is the religion which relates to the economy of that part of the world. In the Middle East, Islam is the only religion and it contributes greatly to the economics of the region.” She noted that students are also taught about Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and other religions.
“At some point we do comparative religion,” she said. “Religion is a big part of world history.”
Charles County Public Schools sent a letter to parents explaining that:
“Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) social studies curriculum adheres to the Maryland World History curricular standards that are a requirement for all counties in the state. These standards include an analysis of the elements of culture such as art, music, religion, government, social structure, education, beliefs and customs in societies throughout history. Regarding the study of history specifically, the standards also state that students should be able to analyze the customs and beliefs of world religions and their expansion, as well as how their establishment has impacted other areas of culture, and in certain times and regions, even caused conflict.
“The particular unit in question at La Plata High School is on the formation of Middle Eastern empires in which students learned the basic concepts of the Islamic faith and how it, along with politics, culture, economics and geography, contributed to the development of the Middle East. Other religions are introduced when they influence or impact a particular historical era or geographic region. For example, when reviewing the Renaissance and Reformation, students study the concepts and role of Christianity. When learning about the development of China and India, students examine Hinduism and Buddhism.
“There is also misinformation about why the school issued a No Trespass Order on a parent. This parent threatened to cause problems that would potentially disrupt La Plata High School this morning. To ensure the safety of students and staff at the school, the school administration placed a No Trespass Order on this parent.”
After a meeting with District Superintendent Kimberly Hill, Wood told reporters that his daughter should not be forced to study a faith that she “does not believe in.”
“I told her straight up ‘you could take that Muslim-loving piece of paper and shove it up your white [expletive],” Wood said on Monday. “If [students] can’t practice Christianity in school, they should not be allowed to practice Islam in school.”
Wood claimed that the school was violating his daughter’s “constitutional rights,” and that he would be contacting the media to “bring a sh*tstorm down on them like they’ve never seen.”
The Woods will allow their daughter to skip that class, and to refuse to complete anymore assignments — something that will harm her grades, as she will receive “zeroes” for everything she skips because of her father’s temper tantrum.
Policies exist that allow a child to complete alternative assignments if a parent objects to material in some cases, but not in world history.
“If parents object to a book that’s assigned, and the assignment is to gather certain reading skills, assigning them a different book doesn’t matter,” O’Malley-Simpson explained. “The student still gains the skills and knowledge. In the case of world history and other subjects, it’s part of the curriculum and it’s part of the standards you’re supposed to learn.”