A Maryland public high school has banned the father of one of its Christian students from the premises, alleging that he threatened to disrupt the school environment after the vice principal did not give into his complaints about the school's history curriculum, which includes teaching components of Islam.
Retired Marine and practicing Catholic, Kevin Wood, was issued a no-trespass order last week that will not allow him to step foot on La Plata High School's campus in Charles County. Wood, who's an Iraq War veteran, issued a complaint in a phone call to the school's vice principal, Shannon Morris, last Thursday saying that he felt it was wrong for the school to force his daughter to complete a three-page paper on the Five Pillars of Islam.
Wood's claim was that if schools aren't allowed to teach or promote Christianity and other religions, they shouldn't be able to assign work focusing on Islam. He further argued that his daughter shouldn't be forced to learn and complete an assignment on Islam, a religion she doesn't believe in.
"I don't agree with it, you can't study God or Christianity in school. You have atheists who are suing the schools for saying God in the pledge," Wood told Fox News. "You can't say prayer before football games, but we can force-feed our kids Islam?"
During Wood's phone call with Morris, he asked the vice principal for his daughter to be given an alternative assignment. When Morris told Wood that his daughter would have to complete the assignment given or receive a failing grade, school officials say Wood threatened to disrupt and "cause problems" to the school environment.
Subsequently, Wood said his daughter will be forced to take failing grades during the time that Islam is taught in her world history course.
"We don't take that lightly," the school's spokesperson Katie O'Malley-Simpson said. "We have a lot of students and safety comes first. We don't allow disruptions at the schools, especially if we are forewarned of them."
O'Malley-Simpson said Wood's no-trespass order will remain until he settles his dispute with the school's officials.
Wood and his wife, Melissa, claim that he did not make any threats to the school's environment but rather threatened to take the dispute to the media to publicize. Although the Woods claim that Kevin made no direct threat to the school, Kevin admitted in an interview with The Maryland Independent that the conversation did get a bit ugly and that he had a few choice words for Morris.
"I told her straight up, 'you could take that Muslim-loving piece of paper and shove it up you white [expletive]," Wood said. "If students can't practice Christianity in school, they shouldn't be allowed to practice Islam in schools."
Although Wood claims that the school "unconstitutionally" favors Islam over Christianity and other religions, O'Malley-Simpson told the Maryland Independent that the state requires the world history course to teach about the role Christianity played in society's reformation in the Renaissance era. She added that the course also discusses Hinduism and Buddhism when the curriculum is focusing on India and China.
O'Malley-Simpson noted that there is nothing the school can do about the requirement to teach Islam in the world history course. The Maryland State Board of Education has required for many years that Middle East history be taught in world history courses. The Middle East history unit also requires teaching Middle East culture.
"We're not teaching religion," Malley-Simpson said. "We're teaching world history."
Although other Maryland public high school courses have policies that will allow for a parent to request that their child be given an alternative assignment, OMalley-Simpson said world history does not have that policy.
"If parents object to a book that's assigned, and the assignment is to gather certain reading skills, assigning them a different book doesn't matter," she said. "The student still gains the skills and knowledge. In the case of world history and other subjects, it's part of the curriculum and it's part of the standards you're supposed to learn."
Melissa Wood told Fox News that she thinks the school misunderstood where her husband was coming from and explained that her husband lost many good friends at the hands of Muslims while fighting in Iraq.
"I guess that's the problem, people don't understand what he endured when he was over in Iraq," she said. "He lost friends and brothers and sisters to these people. People are not understanding where he's coming from."