Georgia parents complain about world religion in 6th grade class - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Georgia parents complain about world religion in 6th grade classes

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Some north Georgia parents say middle school is too early for children to be exposed to lessons about various religions of the world. 

East Side Middle School parents Ryan Jones and James Sanders furnished a copy of their complaint, which they have sent to Governor Nathan Deal:  

"This statement is to clarify our concerns and inform the community about the detailed religious content being exposed and taught to our children in their schools as mandated by the State Standards. By detailed religious content I mean (statements of faith, statements of doctrine, exposure to other faiths… Etc.) 

Some of this content or exposure goes against religious views and beliefs according to various faiths. It is not possible to accommodate all faiths, views and beliefs in this matter therefore a problems arises. We strongly believe that schools can teach appropriate details about world history, other peoples and cultures without going into detailed religious content. 

We feel that children have vulnerable, impressionable and influential minds and something as important and delicate as issues of religion and faith need to be presented to the child by their parent, unless otherwise permitted by the parent. As in some cases this content as currently presented in the school has already created doubt and confusion in some children. 

We have a right and duty as parents to shape, guide, inform and protect our children in all matters of life including the matters of faith. We as  parents are asking the education system to do more on informing parents when this kind of religious content is going to be presented and do more on informing the parents of their rights on opting their children out of this content without being penalized, or come up with some sort of solution removing detailed religious content from the curriculum all together. 

This is not a campaign against our teachers, administrators, schools or elected officials but a campaign to better inform parents and our community, so every family can decide what is best for their children. 

If you desire to be better informed by our schools when this content is going to be given and on the rights you have to opt your child out without being penalized, or if you desire for the education system to have this detailed religious content removed from the curriculum all together please contact your local Board of Education, School Superintendent, State Board of Education and or the Governor's Office."

Both Jones and Sanders have children who attend East Side Middle School in Whitfield County.  School officials emphasize that the curriculum is part of the Georgia statewide curriculum, which specifies that certain topics be covered in 6th grade social studies classes: 


CULTURE: The student will understand that the culture of a society is the product of the religion, beliefs, customs, traditions, and government of that society.
  • How does the diversity of languages in Europe (German, English, Russian, French, Italian) reflect its unique cultural characteristics? How do the people of Europe overcome the barriers created by the diversity of cultures?
  • What are the characteristics of the three major religions in Europe (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)?
  • What is the relationship between literacy rate and standard of living?
Larry Winter, who represents north Georgia on the State Board of Education, says he is comfortable with the curriculum.  He says teachers do not endorse any particular religion, but instead explain the beliefs of different cultures.  

Winter said, "Considering what we've seen on the news in recent months, our young people need to know everything they can about the beliefs and religions of the world." 

Winter complimented Jones and Sanders for getting involved, and researching the subject matter.  

"I'm glad they're interested, because too many parents are not.  I encourage all parents to go online and see what is being taught and studied.  Once they're informed, I think they will understand why this is important."

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