Pitt County Schools has responded to a viral video that alleges a Farmville Central lesson plan is promoting Mohamad and Islam.
The video, created by Dianne Lynn Savage, asserts that the plan is a vocabulary lesson for the eastern North Carolina high school. In it, Savage urges the audience to share the video as widely as possible and to not 'just sit back and allow this'.
Brock Letchworth, the spokesperson for Pitt County Schools, said Friday afternoon that school officials looked into the matter and released the following statement about the lesson plan, " Late last night, it was brought to our attention that there were questions about a vocabulary assignment in a senior English class at Farmville Central High School. The course is designed to accompany the world literature text, which emphasizes culture in literature.
Concerns expressed to us were related to the religious nature of sentences providing vocabulary words in context. After an investigation, we discovered that the vocabulary lesson was taken directly from a state-adopted supplemental workbook published by Holt, Rinehart, and Winston. This workbook includes a series of weekly vocabulary lessons, and the lessons are used to teach vocabulary in context. Lessons are divided into a trio of topics including expression, civilization, and the environment. This particular lesson was pulled from the civilization section of the workbook.
Our school system understands all concerns related to proselytizing, and there is no place for it in our instruction. However, this particular lesson was one of many the students in the class have had and will have that expose them to the various religions and how they shape cultures throughout the world.
The vocabulary lessons apply to the following Common Core Standards for English Language Arts:
CCSSELA-Literacy.L11-12.4.A: Use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence, paragraph, or text; a word's position or function in a sentence) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
CCSSELA-Literacy.L11-12.4.D: Verify the preliminary determination of the meaning of a word or phrase (e.g., by checking the inferred meaning in context or in a dictionary).
CCSSELA-Literacy.L11-12.6: Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.
The Farmville Police Department also commented on the video Friday saying, "I want to let everyone know that I have seen the video post about Farmville Central High School and it is being looked into by the PCSO. The safety of your children is of the utmost importance to FCHS, the Farmville Police Department, and the PCSO. I would ask that instead of continuing to share the post and fueling the fire, that you allow those agencies involved to handle the situation."