BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. — A Tennessee mother is objecting to a social studies textbook used in her local school district, alleging that it promotes Islam.
Speaking at a Sullivan County School Board meeting on Monday night, Michelle Edmisten demanded that the district remove the textbook. Edmisten claimed that her seventh-grade daughter’s “personal religious beliefs were violated” with lessons about Islam, the Kingsport Times News reported.
Edmisten said that her daughter, who attends Bluff City Middle School in Blountville, took zeros on the section on Islamic history after a teacher didn’t allow her to opt out of the curriculum and standards and do alternative studies.
“Those are zeros that we proudly took and we will not compromise,” Edmisten said.
Edmisten was the only parent to speak about the issue.
Director of Schools Evelyn Rafalowski and Board of Education Chairman Michael Hughes said the system is exploring a religious accommodation option since there is no “opt out” allowed in Tennessee.
The school board said any replacement textbook would have to meet current state standards. According to the state board of education’s website, those standards include educating students about Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism in the sixth grade, and Islam in the seventh grade.
The National Council for the Social Studies called the study of religions an “essential” part of the curriculum.