No Tennessee public school course could include anything deemed “religious doctrine” unless the course is taught in 10th, 11th or 12th grade if a newly proposed bill becomes law.
The bill from Rep. Sheila Butt, R-Columbia, comes on the heels of complaints from some parents in several communities as to what their children are learning in middle school about Islam.
“I think that probably the teaching that is going on right now in seventh, eighth grade is not age appropriate,” Butt said Friday afternoon. “They are not able to discern a lot of times whether its indoctrination or whether they’re learning about what a religion teaches.”
Parents in Williamson County, Maury County and several other areas have complained about information contained in courses related to world history. Some, like U.S. Rep Diane Black, R-Tenn., argue the teachings border on indoctrination.
Tennessee education officials and teachers recently argued courses were appropriate and based on secular fact during a discussion of the curriculum with The Tennessean. They acknowledged students might learn the Five Pillars of Islam or read from religious texts, but that information is used to provide historical context about the influence the religion had on regions of the world.
“The reality is the Muslim world brought us algebra, ‘One Thousand and One Nights,’ and some can argue it helped bring about the Renaissance,” Metro Nashville Public Schools social studies teacher Kyle Alexander recently told The Tennessean. “There is a lot of influence that that part of the world had on world history.”
Read more: Times Free Press