Caleigh Wood was a student at La Plata High School when her instructor assigned her an assignment on Islamic ideas. Wood studied the curriculum and discovered that much of it was logically dishonest. The young woman’s last straw came when she discovered what the school was asking kids to disclose.
The World History course not only taught pupils that Muslims had greater faith than Christians, but it also compelled them to write that Allah is the only real deity. The curriculum had several implications that may have come directly from an imam’s sermon.
“Most Muslims’ faith is stronger than the average Christian.” “Islam at heart is a peaceful religion.” Jihad is a “personal struggle in devotion to Islam, especially involving spiritual discipline.” “To Muslims, Allah is the same God that is worshiped in Christianity and Judaism.” “Men are the managers of the affairs of women” and “Righteous women are therefore obedient.”
Wood informed her instructor that she couldn’t perform the Shahada, the Islamic conversion prayer in which Allah is declared to be the one deity, since it would contradict her Christian convictions. But when she attempted to explain that the assignment violated her constitutional right to religious freedom, she was given a zero.
While Wood was supposed to shut up and agree to her failing grade, she was not one of the faithless Christians depicted in Islamic lessons. Instead of lying down, she and her family chose the only action that would draw the attention of the school.
Caleigh Wood and her family contacted the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC) and filed a complaint against the school, saying that the school had violated the First Amendment by forcing the child to proclaim faith in a religion other than her own. The school was successful in its appeals to the Federal District Court, the Fourth Circuit Court, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The legal center, on the other hand, opted to take the issue to the Supreme Court.
The TMLC argued that the school’s curriculum not only discriminates against Christianity by presenting biased beliefs as facts, but it also promotes Islam in the classroom. They have said repeatedly that taxpayer monies are being used to subsidize religious indoctrination in public schools.
While the TMLC claims the lessons supported Islam, which amounted to compelled speech of a young Christian girl, the school claims the lessons were taught in a secular setting and did not force Wood to profess any belief. Attorney Andrew Scott argued in defense of the school that religion must be taught in classrooms because it is inextricably linked to history.
Numerous, yet, say that just one side of Islam and history is being taught—a whitewashed perspective. Nonetheless, the courts have chosen to leave the lessons to the discretion of those who teach them.
Caleigh Wood has now graduated, and although the ultimate judgment had little academic impact on her, she has continued to advocate for a change for future high school students. The Supreme Court ultimately dismissed her appeal after years of contesting the school’s curriculum.
The class gave a troubling glimpse into the religious brainwashing that is taking place in our educational system. While teaching written tenets is important, presenting biased opinions as facts to promote one faith over another is inappropriate.