The Irving Independent School District (ISD) in Texas made headlines this week when one of its own, 14-year-old student Ahmed Mohamed, was sent home for making a clock that his teachers thought was maybe a bomb. Police said it looked like a "movie bomb," and wondered why Mohamed had no other explanation aside from, it's a clock. Not a good look for the Irving ISD, which has a poor track record when it comes to being reasonable.
Back in 2012, the ISD took very seriously parents' concerns that the district's curriculum is too pro-Islam. The Dallas Morning News reported at the time that a lengthy review of mentions of Islam in CSCOPE, the K-12 curricula used by Irving ISD, was prompted by a bombastic email. From the Morning News:
Back in late October, someone named Ginger Russell sent a chain email with the subject “IRVING ISD INDOCTRINATING ISLAM” to school board members and district officials. A version of that email had actually been sent out across Texas, warning that “Christians are going to have to stand up against the pro Islamic teaching in our public schools with CSCOPE curriculum.”
A letter posted to a Tea Party website in 2013 by a Ginger Russell decries Texas' adoption CSCOPE in general, saying it is based off marxist views and that "there are lessons indoctrinating children with Islam and verses of the Quran along with the United Nations Agenda."
If you want to see Ginger Russell compare CSCOPE to Hitler, scroll on over to minute 17:57 of this episode of Infowars Nightly News:
More of her musings can be found on her site, Red Hot Conservative.
To combat the rumors, the Irving ISD hired a Glenn Beck watching consultant to put together a 72-page report outlining where, specifically, the grades-wide curricula mention Islam, and in what context. The report put to rest allegations that a lesson on the founder of the Red Cross referenced the Islamic Red Crescent Moon, and that CSCOPE teaches the Boston Tea Party as an act of terrorism.
At least CSCOPE managed to throw some shade when explaining that the Boston Tea Party lesson was "an attempt to to engage students with an activity on perspective over the topic of terrorism," adding, "the current controversy over this issue is an example of what can happen when an interpretation of content is made without the proper context or other relevant information."
Ultimately, the board found that the CSCOPE curricula actually had a Christian bias. Shocker.
Danielle Wiener-Bronner is a news reporter.