More than 100 people silently protested outside the Vance Middle School in Bristol, Tennessee, on Sept. 4 because the school is teaching seventh-grade students some historical facts about Islam and Muslims.
Only two of the families protesting reportedly have children in the Bristol Tennessee School System.
Patty Kinkead, who organized the event and doesn't have a child in the school system, told the Bristol Herald Courier:
"If we can enlighten two parents to what’s being taught then this has been a successful day. We are also hoping to create a spark so that other people will want to protest across the state."
The school's principal Amy Scott countered:
"Schools in general have been off limits for these types of events and the reasoning behind that is safety related. We’re not a big fan of the protest being held right here because it compromises the safety of our kids.
"As far as having something to say or to stand up for we think that’s perfectly appropriate. We can’t change the standards that we teach therefore we think the venue for the protest is inappropriate."
Earlier this week, Kinkead told the Bristol Herald Courier:
"My son did go to Bristol Tennessee Schools last year and then I pulled him out to home-school him. I’m involved with Tennessee Against Common Core.
"I want to actively educate people about what Common Core is and some of the parts of Common Core that are most offensive. One of the most offensive parts is the Islam content that is with Common Core."
Kinkead did not mention what specifically offends her about Islamic content, and admitted that she hasn't seen hasn’t seen the content that is taught to children in the school.
Rebecca Craddock, a coordinator for school health/communications for the Bristol school system, said in an email that Scott and Kinkead met about the school lessons:
"At their meeting, Dr. Scott shared with Ms. Kinkead the academic standards for social studies as adopted and mandated by the Tennessee State Board of Education (TSBE). It is our understanding that these standards are what the group is protesting."
However, Kinkead insisted:
"Dr. Scott printed off the pre-Islamic chapter and told me they couldn’t print the Islamic chapter until they got to that. We have a group called Tennessee Against Common Core. We gather data from parents all over the state. We have several parents that have given us information, so we know that it (Islamic teaching) goes on throughout the state."
According to the Tennessee Department of Education website, a handout for seventh grade World History and Geography states there is a lesson entitled "Islamic World, 400 A.D/C.E.," which includes the following:
7.4 Describe the expansion of Muslim rule through conquests and the spread of cultural diffusion of Islam and the Arabic language. (C, E, G, H)
7.5 Trace the origins of Islam and the life and teachings of Muhammad , including Islam ’s historical connections to Judaism and Christianity. (C, H)
7.6 Explain the significance of the Qur’an and the Sunnah as the primary sources of Islamic beliefs, practice, and law and their influence in Muslims’ daily life. ( C, H, P )
7.7 Analyze the origins and impact of different sects within Islam, Sunnis and Shi’ites. (C, H )
7.8 Examine and summarize the contributions Muslim scholars made to later civilizations in the areas of science, geography, mathematics, philosophy, medicine, art, and literature. (C, G, H)
Primary Documents and Supporting Texts to Consider: excerpts from The Hadith, Muhammad; excerpts from The Book of Golden Meadows, Masoudi )