An outer suburb of Atlanta is the latest locale in America where some parents are expressing alarm because their middle school-aged children are learning about Islam but, the parents say, the school is pointedly ignoring Christianity.
Ryan Breece, a Christian father of three who has a sixth-grade daughter at Youth Middle School in Loganville, Ga., told local Fox affiliate WAGA-TV his daughter recently came home with a social studies assignment all about the core teachings of Islam.
According to Breece, the taxpayer-funded assignment meticulously instructs students about Islam but almost entirely ignores Christianity.
"We are seeing one page, five statements of Christian faith and we see five or 10 pages of Islamic faith," the mad dad told WAGA-TV. "So we have no accountability to make sure that it's equal."
Breece also disagrees with the far-reaching assignment's description of Islam as an Abrahamic religion which worships the same deity Christian and Jewish people worship.
"My daughter learning the Islamic religion kinda contradicts my faith in general," he told the station. "And I would prefer to receive that information in advance so, that way, I can decide on whether that goes against my faith."
According to Breece, he was so alarmed about what his sixth-grade daughter was — and was not — learning that he scheduled a meeting with the principal at Youth Middle School (David Todd, according to the school's website).
Breece and the principal arranged for his daughter to opt out of the coursework on Islam.
He wants other parents "to be able to opt their children out" of lessons on Islam as well, he told WAGA-TV. It's the "cheapest and most cost-effective solution," he suggested.
Breece has also established a Facebook page concerning his complaint: Georgia Public School's Islamic Curriculum. The closed group currently boasts 1,565 members.
"In Youth Middle School's defense they are teaching a common core mandated curriculum given to them by the state," the Facebook group's description states. "However, to change the situation we must start somewhere."
A Walton County school district representative said that Breece is one of only two local parents to complain to the administration about the curriculum.
Earlier this month, parents in a Nashville suburb expressed similar alarm because their middle school children are learning about Islam in a world history class but, they say, the course material pointedly ignores Christianity. Mad mom Brandee Porterfield, who has a seventh-grade daughter at Spring Hill Middle School in Spring Hill, Tenn., said her daughter came home with world history schoolwork all about the Five Pillars of Islam and other core teachings of the Abrahamic religion. The first and most important pillar — the shahada in Arabic — is roughly translated as: "There is no god but God. Muhammad is the messenger of God." Porterfield said her daughter's teacher instructed the girl to write: "Allah is the only God."
Students in Tennessee public schools also study Buddhism and Hinduism.
However, they do not study Christianity per se. There is not, for example, one class day dedicated to the basic Jesus story.
A Spring Hill school district official promised that students eventually come across a reference to Christianity when history teachers reach the "Age of Exploration" in eighth grade. Then, students will hear about Christians persecuting other Christians in some countries in Western Europe.
In Tennessee, 81 percent of the residents identify as Christian, according to a 2014 Pew poll. About one percent of Volunteer State residents call themselves Muslim.
In October 2014, another similar incident occurred in Maryland when a former Marine Corps corporal asked that his high school-aged daughter be excused from learning about Islam in her world history class. He then found himself under a no-trespass order that prevented him from setting foot on the girl's public school campus.
The order came after the mad dad had a conversation with a school official which did not end well because he reportedly told the staffer to "take that Muslim-loving piece of paper and shove it up your white ass."