On October 28th, Kevin Wood received an unexpected no-trespass order from La Plata High School where his daughter is currently in the 11th grade. A former Marine Corporal with eight years of service, Wood felt wronged and claims the order is unjust. Before receiving the order, Wood had appeared at La Plata High school to contest his daughter’s latest assignment: writing a three-page paper about the five pillars of Islam.
According to the Daily Caller, the school felt that Wood had made threatening remarks and the order is warranted. School district spokeswoman Katie O’Malley-Simpson claimed that Wood openly promised to cause problems for the school if they did not allow his daughter to complete an alternate assignment. However, O’Malley-Simpson did not specify what the threats entailed. “Safety comes first,” she said. “We don’t allow disruptions at the schools, especially if we’re forewarned of them.”
Wood has since contested the order and claims that he never used threatening language. According to Fox News, Wood said: “I have witnesses that have said I did not threaten anybody in any way shape or form.” However, he has openly admitted that his original conversation included some harsh language. “I told her straight up ‘you could take that Muslim-loving piece of paper and shove it up your white ass,’” Wood said. According to Gazette.net, he also told the school that he would “bring a [expletive]storm down on them like they’ve never seen.”
His original issue stemmed from his daughter’s assignment, which he felt unfairly overemphasized Islam. The assignment was administered in a world history class where multiple cultures and their impact on shaping world events are studied. According to O’Malley-Simpson, religion is only a part of a multi-cultural focus, and that the curriculum includes lessons on Hinduism and Buddhism while South and East Asia are studied. “We’re not teaching religion, we’re teaching world history,” she said.
The school’s administration refused to cut or tweak the curriculum in relation to content relating to Islam. Rather than capitulate, Wood’s daughter has refused to participate in any assignments related to Islam, and may receive no alternative work. Despite the family’s objections, the administration stands by the idea that a well-rounded education about world events includes studying multiple cultures and their religions, Islam included.
Jennifer Abell, a board of education member, posted on Facebook a short statement regarding the situation. She claims that misinformation has spread, and “students should be able to analyze the customs and beliefs of world religions and their expansion, as well as how their establishment has impacted other areas of culture, and in certain times and regions, even caused conflict.”
Both the family and the school are discussing ways to resolve the dispute, but neither side seems to be open to relenting. "I don't force my religious views on them, so don't force your religious views on me," Wood said.
His wife, Melissa Wood, has taken the news fairly hard. "We cannot discuss our Ten Commandments in school, but they can discuss Islam's Five Pillars?" she said. “They're making him sound like he's some bad person. He's not a bad person. He fought for your country.”