When Tara Cali of Bakersfield opened her 7th grader's history textbook, she was shocked to discover that the entire lesson was about Islamic beliefs and prayer. The assignment included a code that student could scan with their phone to listen to an actual Muslim prayer. Tara was upset by what she considered to be indoctrination, and sent something back to the teacher.
Tara took her son's assignment and sent it back to the teacher with a message. Tara was outraged and she posted a picture of the workbook that she had written in on Facebook. In the workbook, Tara wrote that she would not allow her son to be involved with the assignment in any way.
"My son WILL not be a part of this in any sort of way. This is bad teaching material. He will NOT partake, If you have a problem with it, call our lawyer.
Tara went on to list several verses from the Bible to drive her point home.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, while it is constitutional for public schools to teach their students about religion, it is not constitutional for them to "advance particular religious beliefs." The ACLU goes on to state the guidelines to teaching religion in school.
"The school's approach to religion is academic, not devotional."
It also clarified the rules on content.
"The school may strive for student awareness of religions, but should not press for student acceptance of any religion."
And the specifics about studying versus practicing religion.
"The school may sponsor study about religion, but may not sponsor the practice of religion."
And no single religion can be singled out.
"The school may educate about all religions, but may not promote or denigrate any religion."
So who was in the wrong here? The answer to that question is entirely different depending on who you ask. If you're like Tara, you believe that children should not be taught about Islam in school. Critics of Tara's message have said she might be misinterpreting a history lesson for an attempt at religious conversion. What do you think?