9/11 Project

Georgia Middle School Controversy

A controversy erupted in September 2011 when an assignment during a two-week unit on the Middle East in Georgia middle schools caught the attention of parents in the class. Public anger arose when one parent complained to the Cobb County School Board (Cobb County is the home of Kennesaw State University) and local media about a writing task in which seventh grade students were asked to reflect on dress codes in the Middle East.

Students were asked to use a two-page “Letter from Ahlima” prompt that, “included a fictional two-page letter ostensibly written by a 20-year-old Saudi Arabian woman. In it, the character writes approvingly of wearing the Islamic veil—and of her fiance's [sic] multiple wives and the law of Sharia.” The use of this material provoked not only some conservative bloggers and journalists to accuse the Cobb County School District of, as Pamela Geller wrote, “insidious subversion,”  “Islamizing public schools,” and “shilling for jihad,” but also required police involvement when “terroristic threats” and hate mail to the curriculum company InspireEd Educators, who produced the material, was reported.

Though the State of Georgia seeks to provide a fair and representative view of Middle Eastern people to seventh grade students, the fear that teaching children about the lives of Muslims in the Middle East is dangerous persists within certain sections of the population. Click here for more information.