LeBlanc said her daughter kept detailed notes of every classroom lecture and as she read the transcripts she became disturbed.
“Really,” she asked. “They can’t call the Holocaust Genocide? I was more upset with that than the lessons on Islam. It made me sick.”
And then came the comparison between the 9-11 hijackers and the freedom fighters.
Madelyn said a young man sitting beside her was stunned.
“He was shocked that we had to call them that,” she told Fox News. “He laughed and asked the teacher, ‘Is that a joke? Are you serious? Why do we have to call them that? That makes it sound okay (what they did) And it’s not.’”
Madelyn said the teacher didn’t know how to respond.
“She said it was something we have to learn for the end of the year testing,” she said. “I’m sure it was very difficult for her to do.”
Madelyn said the lesson about freedom fighters made her feel “terrible.”
“That made it sound like what they were doing was okay,” she said.
The superintendent also defended the lesson on freedom fighters.
“The whole idea behind this particular lesson – do you call yourself a freedom fighter or Islamic jihadist – or whatever it is you want to be called – you’ve got to put things in perspective,” the superintendent said. “We’re trying to teach the kids to discern for themselves that one thing can be called many different things.”
Valastro said it’s important for students to understand context.
“We might see it as terrorism, but from the Islamic side they might call it jihadist or freedom fighter,” he said.
The superintendent said he was not aware of the specific comments made about the 9-11 hijackers – but conceded there was only one side to the attack.
“I do agree it was a terrorist attack,” he said. “But in several classes across this country, you’re going to have a make-up of students from all over the world in your class. We teach it as an act of terrorism – whereas they are teaching it to their kids as a revolutionary event.”
LeBlanc said she was especially bothered by the lack of emphasis on other religions. She said there were hardly any lessons on Judaism and none on Christianity.
“I wondered how it was okay for them to go so in-depth into a religion from the other side of the world but it was not okay for them to be like that with Christianity,” she said.
“I try to stay open-minded,” she said. “I don’t want my daughter to be ignorant about the world. My kids watch the news with us. We make them aware. I don’t even mind the high school teaching these things.”
But, she added, there was no balance.
“They can talk about how important Mecca is – but why aren’t they talking about how important Christianity was to the founding of the nation,” she asked.
LeBlanc and other parents said they feel betrayed.
“We trusted these people,” she said of the school system. “It scares me. I feel like our school is being infiltrated. How can this not be a sign? We’re talking about Lumberton, Texas. We’re talking about a small town with Christian churches on every street corner. Right in our small school this is going on.”