Parents upset over high school lesson involving Islam

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GREENVILLE, Va. (AP) — Parents expressed concern during a community forum over a high school world geography lesson that involved Islam.

Some parents were upset after learning that Riverheads High School teacher Cheryl LaPorte had students in her class complete an assignment Friday that involved practicing calligraphy and writing a statement in Arabic, local media reported. The statement translated to: "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah."

During Tuesday night's forum at the Good News Ministries church in Greenville, parents discussed the lesson and some expressed outrage over what they called indoctrination.

Kimberly Herndon, an Augusta County parent who organized the event, said she didn't want a false doctrine spoken in schools.

"She gave up the Lord's time," Herndon said of LaPorte. "She gave it up and gave it to Mohammed."

Other parents at the forum called for LaPorte's termination.

In response, Augusta County Superintendent Eric Bond said in a news release that when students learn about a geographic region, they also study its religion and language.

"The students were presented with the statement to demonstrate the complex artistry of the written language used in the Middle East, and were asked to attempt to copy it in order to give the students an idea of the artistic complexity of the calligraphy," Bond said.

He added the lessons were not an attempt at indoctrination.

Bond did not answer questions about whether LaPorte was disciplined. School officials have not indicated any changes they plan to make with the curriculum.

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