SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — A Florida school district is under fire for the way it is teaching about religion.
Parent Ron Wagner, who describes himself as ‘not religious,’ complained after his son received a text from a teacher reminding him to complete a prayer rug assignment.
WFTV interviewed Wagner, who read from his son’s school history book, “There is no god, but God. Muhamad is the messenger of God.” It’s not clear in what context that sentence was used. It’s the most common saying in Islam and is often referenced in historical and religious texts.
Wagner says it’s not that he’s against Islam, it’s that he feels the district was focusing on one religion too heavily.
“There’s a difference between teaching of the significance or the impact of a religion and teaching the specific tenets of a religion,” Wagner said.
Also disturbing to him was the first 100 pages of the book, which focus on Judaism and Christianity, are not included in the book his son’s school used.
WFTV went to Dr. Michael Blasewitz, who oversees the high school curriculum, and who said, “The Pillars of Islam are benchmarks in the state curriculum.”
Dr. Blasewitz said the missing pages about Judaism and Christianity are the result of a manufacturing defect, but did not say whether the district will request new books.
An internal investigation reportedly found some students who said they were not forced to recite any Muslim prayers in class.
Before walking out on the interview, Dr. Blasewitz said students learn about other religions in earlier grades.
“If anything, it’s a little imbalanced toward Christianity and Judaism,” Blasewitz said.
WFTV reports the district will review the book when its contract is up in three years.