State Senator Dan Patrick, chairman of the Texas senate education committee, ordered an investigation into reports that a teacher in the Lumberton High School made the female students in a geography class dress in Islamic garb including the burka.
The lesson was supposed to teach students about the life of women in Islamic countries, but made no mention of the fact that in many Islamic countries if women do not wear the burka, they are severely punished.
Parents became outraged when a photograph of the girls dressed in burkas surfaced on the internet."Christian kids who want to pray have to do it outside of school hours, yet Islam is being taught to our kids during school hours," said a very upset mother. When announcing his investigation, Senator Patrick asked, "Could you imagine if someone asked a Muslim student to dress up as a priest?"
One father, whose daughter was dressed in a burka wondered why the teacher was giving the children lessons about Islam in a geography class. “[My daughter] went from learning about Mexico to learning about Russia to learning about Islam,” he said. “Islam is not a country. Islam is not a continent.”
During a class discussion, the teacher asked the students how they perceived Islam. “Most of the class said they thought about terrorism,” reported one student. “[The teacher’s] response was, ‘We’re going to change the way we perceive Islam.’ ”
The teacher told the students they should refer to Muslim terrorists, including those involved in the 9/11 attacks, as freedom fighters. The teacher also was also quoted as saying that she did not necessarily agree with the lessons –but she was required to teach the material.
The students were also required to write an essay in which they had to explain why Egypt's current problems are a result of democracy and not because of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Lumberton High School is under the Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative (TESCCC) whose company, CSCOPE, is the producer of a controversial electronic curriculum management system that is used in 80 percent of Texas classrooms. It has been accused of having developed an anti-American, anti-Christian and pro-Islam curriculum.
Under CSCOPE rulings, teachers may only teach CSCOPE lessons and are not permitted to discuss its content with parents or other community members.
When asked to comment on the lesson of the burka dress, Lumberton Independent School District High School released the following statement to Fox News, "The lesson that was offered focused on exposing students to world cultures, religions, customs and belief systems, and the lesson is not teaching a specific religion."
The school district also said the lesson taught at the high school was not part of a written CSCOPE lesson. Janice Van Cleave, an outspoken critic of the system and the founder of Texas CSCOPE Review said, "This is the normal [standard] answer from CSCOPE. They are definitely promoting the Islamic religion. CSCOPE offers no comparable lessons on Christianity or Judaism."
Evidence was presented at a state hearing that showed that CSCOPE offered a number of lessons about Islam, with one particular lesson that instructed teachers to provide classroom readings of selected texts from the Koran and where students were also taught that Allah is God.
CSCOPE has been heavily criticized by teachers and parents for its controversial lessons. In one of them, Christianity is described as a "resurrection of pagan religions with the resurrection of Jesus Christ characterized as parallel with Osiris and Mithraism." Christians are also accused of engaging in cannibalism and incest, while indulging in "love feasts" and the "Lord’s Supper." While CSCOPE is zealous in its attacks against Christianity, critics say it finds Islam above reproach.