Written by:  Amelia Morrison Hipps
September 11, 2015

LEBANON, TENNESSEE — A recent video posted on Facebook by a Mt. Juliet pastor alleging that Wilson County Schools are teaching “new Islamic indoctrination” to seventh graders is blatantly false, according to Director of Schools Dr. Donna Wright.

“The video filmed in front of one of our middle schools was done without school knowledge or permission, and we will not allow our schools to be used for the intentional and deliberate incitement of parents and the community,” said Wright.

“No one in any Wilson County School is teaching any indoctrination of Islam or of any world religion for that matter,” Wright said. “To imply or state otherwise shows a lack of knowledge about the standards used in our schools.”

Wright explained that standards are academic expectations that define what students should know and be able to do at each grade level.

“There is no state required length of time to be devoted to any topic, that is a local decision, as is the curriculum and instruction. The state leaves those decisions to the local school districts because we know our students and communities best,” Wright said.

Deputy Director of Academics Monty Wilson explained that the teaching of major religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Muslim, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism and Shinto, are covered in grades six and seven, and again in high school.

“Although these religions will be taught at some point in these three courses, the focus on each religion will depend on the context and influence of the time period,” said Wilson, who previously served as deputy director of content and resources for the Tennessee Department of Education prior returning to Wilson County.

“World History is taught at three different times in a student’s K-12 education. First in grades six and seven and again in high school,” he explained. “The courses cover World History from the beginning of time to the present.

“The content of religion in our social studies standards is not new in Tennessee, but the sequence has been revised,” Wilson added. The State Board of Education approved the revised standards, which were developed by a committee of Tennessee teachers, in July 2013.

Wilson said sixth grade covers early civilizations through the decline of the Roman Empire, while the seventh grade covers The Middle Ages to the Exploration of the Americas. In high school, students study the Industrial Revolution to the Contemporary World.