Groesbeck: Parent upset over homework assignment on Islam

(Photo by Randy Davis)
(Photo by Randy Davis)(KWTX)
Published: May. 4, 2017 at 6:51 PM CDT
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The mother of a Groesbeck intermediate school student says she’s upset about homework assigned about Islam that her daughter was assigned.

Samantha Wilburn recently moved her daughter to Enge-Washington Intermediate School in Groesbeck from another school, and she says she was happy with the school until Wednesday night when her husband walked in as the couple’s daughter completed her sixth grade history homework assignment on Islam.

"It was on her laptop and she was reading about the Quran and my husband saw her and asked her what she was reading and we happened to look at the paper and that's how we found it,” Wilburn said.

Wilburn says she takes issue with the second page of the two-page assignment, on which students were asked to list the five tenets of Islam required for salvation.

"It's just they've taken God and other things out of the schools but yet they're going to push this in there secretly to me and I don't think it's right." Wilburn said.

Wilburn told her mother, Polly Macias, about the homework and Macias took to social media to share the concerns, and contacted KWTX.

Groesbeck School Superintendent Dr. Harold Ramm, who has been in education for nearly five decades, says the teacher was just following curriculum put out by the state,

“The textbook meets the Texas standards,” he said.

“It pushes the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for the state of Texas."

Sixth graders are learning about Southwest Asia this week and the textbook chapter around which the lesson revolves includes information about other major religions, as well.

“The chapter being taught starts with Judaism, then Christianity and then to Islam and other religions,” he said.

“I don't think this is a concern. This is again educating kids and giving them the opportunity to understand other religions and other cultures,” he said.

Wilburn, and her mother met Thursday afternoon with school officials who told them that if they had a complaint about the textbook and the lessons, they should direct their anger toward the State Board of Education.

"I think it's something that everyone needs to know because we are dealing with stuff in our nation and its time that people need to know what their kids are being taught,” Wilburn said.

Retired Texas Education Commissioner Shirley Richardson, who now lives in Groesbeck, says she wishes the parents had gone to the school before turning to social media.

"Well I think it's unfortunate that the situation has landed on the desk of the news media. First of all we have an outstanding chain of communications in Groesbeck ISD,” she said.

"It is a remarkable school district very community-based very community involved and so student-centered they have their priorities in order,” she said.