Tennessee School Board Considers Ban On Classroom Material From TERRORIST GROUPS

Font Size:

A school board in Tennessee is mulling a proposal to ban teachers from using supplemental educational materials connected to terrorist organizations.

Members of the Williamson County school board debated the proposal on Monday night, reports The Tennessean, Nashville’s main daily.

There appear to have been exactly zero reports of any teachers using terrorist-linked supplementary material in the pleasant, leafy suburban school district about 25 miles south of Nashville. Nevertheless, supporters say the new rule is a necessary precaution to prevent terrorist groups from infiltrating local classrooms.

“I respect teachers as much as anyone in this room,” said Beth Burgos, a school board member and the sponsor of the new policy, according to The Tennessean. “I adamantly disagree that this ties their hands or in any way disrespects them.”

“I just want to safeguard our district and our parents and our teachers and our students,” Burgos, who is also a local doctor, explained. “I believe it’s a real threat.”

Other school board members saw the proposed policy change as unwarranted.

“I don’t think our teachers are going to Hamas and pulling down supplementary materials,” board member Anne McGraw said, according to the Nashville newspaper.

“Teachers know not to use supplemental materials provided by terrorists. We don’t need to tell them that,” McGraw also observed, according to Brentwood Home Page.

However, still other school board members sided with Burgos, retorting that you can never be too sure when it comes to supplemental materials connected to terrorists.

Burgos recalled that a first-year teacher over in Bristol — 300 miles east — had once used a PowerPoint slide provided by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a group which the U.S. government has listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in a scheme to provide funding to the terror group Hamas.

The policy proposed by Burgos would prevent teachers in the Williamson County school district from using any materials or resources — including online resources — provided by groups with terrorist ties. Burgos defines a terrorist group as “any Foreign Terrorist Organization as designated by the United States Department of State.” Having ties to terrorist groups means includes “members who have, in a court of competent jurisdiction, been convicted of or found to be conspirators in providing material support to terrorist organizations.”

The policy change would also mandate that parents have the right to view materials — including supplemental materials — related to their children’s educations.

This right already exists.

“Our parents are entitled, and always have been, to review all supplementary materials,” assistant superintendent Tim Gaddis said, according to The Tennessean.

The Williamson County school board chairman and the school district superintendent will now decide whether to set the proposed policy change for a vote or table it.

Back in the fall, Tennessee state legislator Sheila Butt, a Republican, proposed a bill in response to a grassroots campaign across the state by parents — primarily evangelical parents — against what they perceive as an inappropriate focus on Islam in history and social studies courses in taxpayer-funded middle schools. (RELATED: Tennessee Bill Would Ban Teaching ‘Doctrine’ Of Islam To Seventh Graders)

Complaining parents from across Tennessee expressed concerted alarm because their children in public middle schools are reportedly required to learn about the Five Pillars of Islam in a world history and social studies classes. (The first and most important pillar is roughly translated as: “There is no god but God. Muhammad is the messenger of God.” At the same time, the parents say, the course material pointedly ignores Christianity. (RELATED: Public School Parents Angry After Middle Schoolers Instructed To Write ‘ALLAH IS THE ONLY GOD’)

CAIR labeled Rep. Butt’s bill “an anti-Islam bill” “tied to Islamophobic claims.” (RELATED: CAIR Demands Tennessee 7th Graders Learn ‘Muhammad Is The Messenger Of God’)

For reasons that are not entirely clear, Tennessee appears to be an epicenter for America’s encounter with Islam.

In July 2015, lone Muslim gunman Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, a 24-year-old naturalized citizen from Kuwait, brutally murdered four Marines at a military recruiting center and a Naval reserve center in Chattanooga.

Back in February, leaders of ISIS took to the group’s propaganda magazine to urge followers to assassinate Texas-born Yasir Qadhi, an American professor who teaches at Rhodes College, a private bastion of the liberal arts in Memphis. (RELATED: ISIS Is Now Threatening To Murder A COLLEGE PROFESSOR IN TENNESSEE)

In 2013, officials at Sunset Elementary School in Brentwood rescinded a ban on delicious pork just one day after it went into effect because parents complained. The parents and other locals believed that the prohibition on pork had been an attempt to defer to the sensibilities of unidentified Muslim students. (RELATED: Tennessee Elementary School Lifts Fatwa Against Pork After Parents Complain)

An overwhelming percentage of the residents of Tennessee identify as Christian, according to a 2014 Pew poll. About one percent of Volunteer State residents call themselves Muslim.

Follow Eric on TwitterLike Eric on Facebook. Send education-related story tips to