An Advanced Placement World Geography teacher at a Texas high school who encouraged students to dress in Islamic clothing also instructed them to refer to the 9-11 hijackers not as terrorists – but as “freedom fighters,” according to students who were in the class.
Students at Lumberton High School were also told to stop referring to the Holocaust as Genocide – instead they were told to use the term “ethnic cleansing.”
John Valastro, the superintendent of the Lumberton Independent School District, tells me that the teacher did absolutely nothing wrong.
“What is more dangerous – fear and ignorance or education and understanding,” he asked. “From our standpoint, we are here to educate the kids.
Valastro said the teacher involved is a 32-year veteran who was simply following state teaching guidelines.
“I don’t think my freshman-level teacher was trying to politicize radical Islam or anything like that,” he said. “I don’t think our teacher has...to my knowledge ever converted a single student to Islam.”
The Islamic lessons in the small public high school generated national attention after a photograph of four female students wearing burqas surfaced on Facebook.
April LeBlanc’s 15-year-old daughter was one of the students in the photograph. She told me that many parents in the district feel betrayed by school officials.
“My biggest thing is not the burqa,” she said. “That was the key to opening up the rest. It’s scary how far they dove into the Islamic faith. It’s scary what they taught my daughter. Who’s in charge of this? How did our superintendent let this slip through the cracks?”
LeBlanc said the students were told that they could no longer use the terms suicide bomber or terrorist. Instead, they were instructed to use the words “freedom fighters.”
“This teacher taught her that a freedom fighter is when they give their life for the Holy War – and that they’re going to go to heaven,” she said. “They were saturating these kids in Islam and my daughter is an American Christian child.”
Madelyn LeBlanc told me that it was clear her teacher was very uncomfortable lecturing the students.
“I do have a lot of sympathy for her,” the 15-year-old said. “At the very beginning she said she didn’t want to teach it but it was in the curriculum.”
Her mother added that it was her impression that the teacher did not agree with the quote about calling the terrorists freedom fighters and laced her lecture with sarcasm.
During a lesson on Judaism, LeBlanc said the teacher told the class, “Students, I’m supposed to be politically correct and tell you that the Holocaust was not Genocide. It was an ethnic cleansing.”