Parents are demanding answers after a Texas teacher reportedly invited female students to dress up in Islamic garb and told the class to refer to Muslim terrorists as freedom fighters.
Texas state Sen. Dan Patrick, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, has launched an investigation into the incident. He told Fox News he was disturbed after seeing a photograph of female students wearing burqas and learning that students were reportedly taught that the cause for Egypt's turmoil is democracy, not the Muslim Brotherhood, based on an article by the Washington Post.
The lesson on Islam was apparently taught in a world geography class at Lumberton High School in Lumberton, Texas, Fox News Radio's Todd Starnes reports.
One parent told Fox News she was "outraged" after she discovered a photograph of her 14-year-old daughter wearing a burqa on Facebook. "I felt my blood press go through my head," she added.
"As parents we should have been made aware of this and I felt like the line had been crossed," the parent said. "Christian kids who want to pray have to do it outside of school hours – yet Islam is being taught to our kids during school hours."
The girl's dad wants to know why his daughter was learning about Islam in a geography course.
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The parents said they confronted their daughter and told her to explain exactly what she had been taught.
"They were asked about their perception of Islam," she said. "Most of the class said they thought about terrorism. And her response was, 'we're going to change the way we perceive Islam.'"
The teacher reportedly told the students that she did not necessarily agree with the lessons –but she was required to teach the material.
Sen. Patrick said he can relate to parents' frustration.
"Could you imagine if someone asked a Muslim student to dress up as a priest? The parents of a Muslim student might be rather upset about that," he said.
The Lumberton Independent School District defended the lesson on Islam in a statement to Fox News, saying "the lesson that was offered focused on exposing students to world cultures, religions, customs and belief systems."
"The lesson is not teaching a specific religion, and the students volunteered to wear the clothing," the statement added.
According to the school district, Christianity and Judaism were also part of the lesson — but the parents claim Christianity was not discussed in the class.
When the parents contacted the principal at the high school, he told them the content was required under CSCOPE, a controversial online curriculum system that provides lesson plans to teachers across the state of Texas. However, the school district claims the lesson on Islam was not part of CSCOPE.
Janice VanCleave, founder of Texas CSCOPE Review, said that is a typical response from a school system that uses CSCOPE. She also said teachers are not giving students the whole story about Islam.
"They are not telling students how these young women are treated in this religion…In the Islamic countries women are not treated well at all," she told Fox News.
VanCleave argues that CSCOPE offers no comparable lessons on Christianity or Judaism.
"I do think CSCOPE promotes the Islamic religion," she added. "I don't think it's right to be proselytizing the Islamic religion in our schools."
Meanwhile, every time lawmakers have asked CSCOPE leaders about Islamic lessons, they have been told "those were old lessons," Patrick said.