CHEATHAM COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Islam is one of many religions required to be taught in Tennessee public schools.
Monday night, concerned parents gathered at a school board meeting in Cheatham County with questions about this curriculum.
“I think that Islam was taught really in depth a little more than all the others,” said Lisa Binkley, a Cheatham County parent with two children in the district.
She spoke before the board.
“To me, it’s almost like an indoctrination, not an introduction to a religion,” said Binkley.
“We don’t have a problem with the culture. We just want the religion out of the schools,” said Tammy Sharp, a Rutherford County parent who went to the meeting.
“We’re supporting the other parents that have the same concerns that we have,” she said.
In a statement, Jeff Bennett, director of communications for the Cheatham County School District said, “As a district, we do not plan to spend differing amounts of time on each standard [as they relate to world religions]. We follow the standards as they are given by the state.”
He supplied News 2 with a copy of those standards. It said students study “the Islamic World” in seventh grade. In sixth grade, they learn about Christianity and Judaism.
He also gave News 2 a fact sheet. It said all major religions including Buddhism and Hinduism are covered.
The standards were adopted in 2013 and developed by a committee of Tennessee teachers. It said the public and all educators had the opportunity to provide feedback before it was implemented.
“The State Board of Education will be reviewing the social studies standards two years earlier than the law requires. The standards will undergo a highly transparent and rigorous review process beginning in January 2016. All Tennesseans will be able to provide feedback on the social studies standards using a review website. The State Board encourages the public to participate in this process,” said McKenzie Manning, the Communications Director for the State Board of Education.
In September, parents in Maury County expressed similar concerns. The Maury County school district also insisted its following state teaching standards.