The Douglas County School District is in hot water over the controversial religious dress code that was enforced for a World Religion class field trip. The students were reportedly scheduled to attend three different houses of worship, including a mosque, a synagogue, and a Greek Orthodox Church.
According to Western Journalism, the seventh grade class was required to adhere to Sharia law and cover themselves down to their ankles and wear head scarves in order to attend. Needless to say, many parents weren’t pleased with the directive.
The letter sent home to parents included all of the details about the field trip. But, the dress code requirements have caused quite a stir.
“The world religions field trip is next Tuesday, January 13. We will be visiting the Denver Mosque, the Assumption Greek Orthodox Cathedral, and the Rodef-Shalom Synagogue. We will then eat lunch at Park Meadows Food Court. Students must either bring a sack lunch or money to purchase lunch at the food court.”
“THERE IS A DRESS CODE FOR THIS TRIP: All students must wear appropriate long pants. Ankles must be covered. Girls must bring wide scarves or hooded sweatshirts for the mosque.”
The notification about the field trip led to several complaints from parents. However, the dress code reportedly isn’t the only issue parents have with the field trip. Some parents also reportedly questioned the school’s perspective, due to the controversial response given to explain the trip.
— Dr. White (@RealDoctorWhite) January 10, 2015
Following the overwhelming number of complaints by displeased parents, the school released an official statement to address the situation.
“For the past ten years, RHMS seventh-grade students take a social studies course that is partially focused on world religion… In the Douglas County School District (DCSD), we provide authentic learning experiences to all students. We teach students how to think, not what to think… Common Core does not include social studies. In fact, the world religion social studies course is part of the seventh-grade Colorado Academic Standards — meaning this is part of the state requirement for all Colorado school districts.”
Although it has also been stated that field trip attendance is voluntary, the dress code is mandatory in order to attend. However, the school’s response has also sparked another debate.
.@GOPLADYAMY I'd immediately pull my children out of that school!
— Karen Doe (@KarenDoe50) January 13, 2015
Mad World News argues the hypocrisy in the statement. If students are being taught “how to think” as opposed to “what to think,” then why are they imposing religious beliefs and practices the children aren’t accustomed to? Learning about different religious customs around the world is one thing, but having to participate in such religious practices shouldn’t be necessary for learning purposes.
Needless to say, many parents have reportedly decided not to allow their children to attend at all.
Do you think the students should have been forced to adhere to the Muslim dress code for the field trip? Would your child to attend? Share your thoughts.
[Image via Colorado News]