North Carolina: parents upset over use of the Qur’an in classroom

More than 100 people came out Thursday night in Albemarle to raise concern about an incident involving the holy book of Islam. Some parents say a teacher passed the Quran around a Stanly County middle school classroom.

James Hinds, of Albemarle, said he was furious a few months ago when his daughter told him the Islamic holy book ‘the Quran’ was shown by her teacher in class at North Stanly Middle School. “A picture can show them what they needed to know. They didn’t actually have to physically put the book in my child’s face,” Hinds said.

District officials said Thursday the Quran was used as an artifact not as an instructional tool and that the discussion of religious differences in the world was well within the proper social studies curriculum.

Hinds said he wasn’t satisfied after addressing the Quran issue with the teacher and principal. So in late January, the father of two officially filed a grievance with the Stanly County School Board. Hinds called an informational meeting Thursday night in Albemarle to raise awareness and potentially get more parents to file similar grievances but not everyone was on board.

Trevor Schmidt and a group also came to the meeting peacefully holding signs and arguing the Quran in the classroom debate is being overblown. “Generalization of just an entire religion, saying you don’t want it taught in your school, in a social studies class, is kind of, you know, not right with our American values of freedom that we try to uphold,” Schmidt said.

The Stanly County School Board is expected to respond to Hinds’ grievance about the Quran in school by the end of this month. Stanly County School District leaders said they are sensitive to religious issues and said if parents feel any instruction violates their religious values that students may opt out of some lessons if they choose.

News14, 12 February 2011