A school district near the Nashville, Tenn. area has banned class field trips to religious venues after parents expressed concern when their children were taken to a mosque as a part of an honors world studies course.
As the new school year begins, Sumner County School District spokesperson Jeremy Johnson released a statement clarifying that its district would be banning future field trips in the world studies class that would involve visiting religious venues.
"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. 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," the statement reads, in part, according to WKRN-TV.
The controversy began earlier this summer at Hendersonville High School in Sumner County, when stepfather Mike Conner complained that his freshman stepdaughter's world studies course, which she took in August, was pushing Islamic tolerance on the students while ignoring other religions, such as Judaism and Christianity.
Three weeks of the 36-week course, led by teacher Amanda Elmore, reportedly focused on world religions. In observance of the world religions section of the course, students were taken to a mosque and a Hindu temple. Those students who chose to opt out of this portion of the course had to write an essay comparing world religions based on several documents provided to them.
Conner argued at a back-to-school meeting last month that Elmore did not equally address all five religions studied in the class; rather, she focused only on Islam and Hinduism. Additionally, the alternative assignment given to students who opted out of the field trip asked them to compare religions by using documents provided to them. In those documents only one page of Bible verses were included, as well as only two-thirds of a page about Gandhi, yet five pages were given to students about the Islamic Prophet Mohammed.
"If you can't share equal time to all five, you shouldn't do any of them," Conner reportedly said at the meeting, according to The Tennessean. "If we as parents don't begin speaking up, no one will."
Conner said, "Our kids are being indoctrinated and this is being shoved in their face. 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," according to Fox News.
The school has reportedly been offering the popular world studies class, an honors elective course, for 10 years. The school has let it be known that there was not enough time or funds for the course to tour five houses of worship for all five religions.