State superintendent says Islamic assignment crossed line

by: Tom Regan Updated:

COBB COUNTY, Ga.,None - Georgia's superintendent says the lesson in which a Muslim woman touts the benefits of the burqa and multiple husbands while criticizing Western culture crosses the line.

Channel 2's Tom Regan talked with the state school superintendent Dr. John Barge Friday, who said the lesson should be dropped from schools.

The resource material was approved long before Barge took office.

He said he would not have allowed it to be sent home with students for an assignment on school dress codes.

"So this crossed the line?” Regan asked Barge.  “Absolutely," Barge replied.

Barge told Regan that until recently, he hadn't seen the homework assignment given to students at Campbell Middle School.

The homework assignment featured a letter from a Muslim woman who talks up the virtues of burqas and multiple wives.

The assignment reads, "I understand that some westerners condemn our practice of polygamy, but I also know they are wrong."

"When you start passing judgment on one culture or one religion, being more appropriate and especially condemning and criticizing our own culture as being wrong, that's going too far," Barge said.

Hal Medlin's daughter was given the assignment and said, "It represents Islam in a positive manner. That doesn't offend me as much as the fact that it represents no other religion.”

Barge told Regan he didn't know why the resource material was approved for use studies on Middle East culture, but concluded statements like “I have seen pictures of women in the west and find their dress to be horribly immodest" unsuitable for classroom discussion in middle school.

"What this lesson should be about is facts: They wear burqas, or this is what their religion believes. Not whether something is right or wrong," Barge said.

Barge also said teachers and administrators should pay more attention to what materials they're sending home with their students.

"We hope our teachers at the local level are really using their professional judgment on what goes out to students and what they're teaching and resources they're using,” Barge said.