SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. -- Some high school students in a Seminole County public school got a lesson in Islam. Outraged parents at Lake Brantley High School called Channel 9 after an Islamic group visited the classroom.
Parents say the discussion violated the separation of church and state, because, they said, the discussion touched on specific elements of Islam and the Koran. Students in one particular class at Lake Brantley High School didn't have a choice about whether they wanted to be involved.
It was just the second day of a new class at Lake Brantley High School called "Family Dynamics," but students said guest speakers were there to talk about something else.
"She said, 'Mom, three Muslim ladies came in and talked about Islam today in school,'" said parent Lisa Wagner.
Wagner's daughter was one of about 35 in the class who heard from the Academy for Learning Islam. The school district said it invited the group to talk about cultural diversity, but the conversation went beyond that.
"I just felt like it shouldn't have been available in the classroom at all. Religion should be separate from school," Wagner said.
"Would three nuns be allowed to come into a classroom and talk about Jesus and the Bible?" WFTV reporter Eric Rasmussen asked Regina Klaers with Seminole County Public Schools on Thursday.
"If those three nuns came in to talk about how their religion has affected history, yes," she said.
However, district officials admit the in-class discussion at Lake Brantley may have crossed the line. The leader of the Muslim group showed Eyewitness News the presentation students were supposed to see and said his volunteers knew they weren't supposed to talk about religion.
"It's not preaching a religion. It's far from it," said Hasnain Kassamali, Muslim leader.
Local activist groups like the United American Committee have also denounced the presentation.
District officials said the three presenters were last minute subs for a different woman who was supposed to speak and now they're reviewing their guest speaker program to make sure they know exactly who's involved.