Furious parents in Staunton, Virginia, demanded the firing of a teacher when she assigned a state-approved exercise—copying calligraphy from the Koran—to help students understand Islam. And, that’s not the only lesson outraging conservative parents across America. In response to the scandal, terrified educators around the nation are responding by ferreting out unorthodox assignments in their local schools.
In Cairo Township, Minnesota, distraught parents are horrified that a world cultures activity on Egyptian hieroglyphics will divert attention from Christian teachings. “We’re disturbed about taking attention away from the afterlife as Christians understand it and refocusing it on mummification,” said Mrs. Patti Machart, principal of Cedar Mountain Elementary School. Ed Hinden, Dean of the School of Religion at Liberty University, released a strongly worded epistle on behalf of Christianity, emphasizing the ascendency of the rapture. Cairo Township is considering changing its name to Bethlehem Township.
Abstinence educators have accused math teachers of promoting promiscuity. Valerie Huber, president of the National Abstinence Education Association, appearing in a special edition of The O’Reilly Factor, cautioned parents about geometry, “Triangles have been used to promote promiscuous sex for centuries through the notion of ‘love triangles.’ You can only imagine an impressionable teen conjuring up a ‘love parallelogram.’” Dr. Francis Edward Su, president of the Board at the Mathematical Association of America, denounced Ms. Huber for fear-mongering. Ms. Huber had the final word, pointing out, “And, then, there’s the number 69. It’s time that we remove salacious images from mathematics lessons.”
Early childhood specialists are alarmed that even young children could be radicalized. Ann Pleshette Murphy, Board President at Zero to Three—the National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families—released a white paper cautioning parents on the use of coloring books. “Research indicates a strong correlation between coloring outside the lines and the promotion of ‘nontraditional thinking.’ Consider your preschooler coloring pictures of Osama Bin Laden or a mosque. It’s a tiny leap to imagine that child becoming a teen jihadist.”
Asked to respond to the debacle, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued a fatwa denouncing the accusations against Islam, reassuring Americans that obesity made U.S. citizens dubious candidates for jihadists, and calling on U.S. Muslims to disrupt Trump rallies by throwing origami cranes.
© Gretchen Martens, Dallas, TX 2016
Submitted for publication to Second City Network, not accepted.