By Kelsey PadgettTimes Staff Writer
Two Beddingfield High School students were removed from their English class by their parents last week after they brought home lessons studying the Islamic religious text the Quran.
The text was referenced in a world culture lesson being taught in Lynn Joyner’s 10th-grade English class.
Over the course of the lesson, students learn about elements of Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, polytheism and Islam.
Juli Williams said her daughter is a student in Joyner’s English class, and she was outraged when she saw what her daughter was studying.
“The Quran is not a story,” Williams said. “It is a bible. With as much literature as there is out there, whatever they are trying to teach could be taught using another book.”
The English class was using a county-issued world literature textbook, “World Masterpieces,” that has been approved by the state for 10th-graders.
Wilson County school board policy says public schools are not required to delete religion from curriculum that may offend religious sensitivity if it prevents students from receiving a complete education, such as studying music without mention of sacred music or architecture without cathedrals.
According to Wilson County Schools spokeswoman Amber Lynch, the religious texts are part of the state’s curriculum and as long as school board policy is followed, WCS is in support of teaching informative lessons on different religions and their texts.
Williams said she has five daughters, all who have been enrolled in North Carolina public schools, and she has never seen them work on homework concerning Islam or the Quran.
“This is an English class, not a religion class,” Williams said. “I feel like they are indoctrinating our children without our knowledge.”
She said she often checks to make sure her daughter is doing her homework in a timely manner and is making good grades, but has never felt that she needed to monitor what she was being taught.
“I feel like we, as parents, were tricked,” she said. “This lesson was snuck in without us knowing.”
Williams said because she does not have control over how religion is being taught in schools, she would like her daughter’s religious education to be handled at home in the future.
“The Bible needs to be taught at home or in church, not in a public school classroom,” Williams said.
Lynch said the school will be offering alternate assignments for students and parents who are uncomfortable with the world religion assignments. She said in the past 10 years the lesson has been taught, no other students have requested an alternate assignment.
“Ms. Joyner is a respected and valued teacher at Beddingfield High,” Lynch said. “Just like educators across our district, she has taught informative lessons on different religions for many years because it is a part of the state’s curriculum in literature and history classes. Ms. Joyner followed the guidelines in Board policy. We stand behind her teaching practices. But at the same time, we also value and respect the feelings of our students and their families. Ms. Joyner cares about her students and wants what is best for them. She is willing to offer alternate assignments to any student who is not comfortable with assignments related to religious excerpts. This is a standard practice in our district. We encourage parents who have concerns to reach out to the teacher and principal first before taking other action.”
Students not taking part in the Quran lesson were moved to the school’s library last week to work on other assignments.
Could that in part explain why North Carolina has produced so many Muslim terrorists?