A controversial field trip to an Islamic mosque has caused a Tennessee high school to revise its field trip policy.
Students in a freshman honors world studies class at Henderson High School on Sept. 4 visited the Islamic Center of Nashville, where they were reportedly given copies of the Quran. They also visited a Hindu temple.
A Sumner County Schools spokesperson acknowledged there was concern about the field trip.
“Our district has reviewed the practice and decided to eliminate field trips to religious venues from this class, as it does not provide equal representation to all the religions studied in the course unit,” read the statement sent to Fox News. “This decision was made due to the fact that equal representation in regards to field trips for all religions studied in the course is not feasible.”
Fox News’ Todd Starnes reports that some parents were upset and wondered why the school would take a tour of a mosque and a temple but not a Christian church or a Jewish synagogue.
“If you can’t go to all five, why are you going to any?” asked parent Mike Conner. “We sent the principal an email and voiced our concerns. She sent back a reply and told us they could not afford to go to all five.”
Conner says the kids were served cookies and punch at the mosque, where they were read readings of the Quran. They were allowed to decline if they chose. They were reportedly led in meditation at the Hindu temple.
“Our kids are being indoctrinated and this is being shoved in their face,” Conner told Starnes. “It tells me they are pushing other religions and they want Christianity to take a back seat. They want our children to be tolerant of everything except Christianity.”
Conner’s 14-year-old stepdaughter, Jessica, chose not to go on the field trip and was given a replacement assignment in which she was told to compare and contrast Islam, Christianity and Hinduism.
“There was one page on the sayings of Jesus, two-thirds of a page on the sayings of Gandhi, and five pages on Muhammad,” Conner explained. He said his daughter declined to complete the assignment, which she believed was unfair and unbalanced.
“Because of a surplus in information on Muhammad, and a lack of complete and thorough information on Mahatma Gandhi and Jesus Christ, there is not enough true facts to properly complete a comparison and contrasting paper,” the teen wrote in her paper.
She was punished for standing up for her beliefs and received a zero on the assignment. Conner and his wife met with school officials, who refused to give Jessica a more balanced assignment or change her grade.
“They told us we were being hostile towards Islam,” Conner says. “It was a very confrontational meeting. Their attitude was, ‘I can’t believe you would question our motives with your children.’”
He is hopeful that the school board will punish the teachers.
“Someone needs to be held accountable,” he says. “They are our children—not theirs.”