District debunks rumors that its recruiting students for Islam
A Hudson Middle School world history project created a stir last week when photos of a poster turned up on the Facebook page Citizens 4 St. Croix Valley.
The poster was part of a student project and featured information about Islam and Sharia Law. The Facebook post along with comments from others appeared Wednesday, Feb. 22. It raised questions about why information about Islam was being taught in Hudson schools. One comment questioned if the school was recruiting students. Another questioned whether Christianity was also being taught. Most of those posts have since been taken down.
The posts were made on the Citizens 4 St. Croix Valley page, which links the site for Citizens for the St. Croix Valley. The Star-Observer contacted Citizens for the St. Croix Valley about the posts and received this email response from Dianne Joachim.
"The rumors you heard are totally unfounded and untrue! Any posts regarding teaching of Islam on the Citizens for St. Croix Valley Facebook page DID NOT originate from this group. Furthermore, we made no allegation to the school concerning their teachings of any subject."
Tracy Habish-Ahlin is communications coordinator for the Hudson School District. She said her office and the middle school began to receive calls about the posts shortly after it appeared, about 10 by her estimate, from both inside and out of the community.
It was decided to put out an official response that is reprinted with this story.
Habish-Ahlin said students study all the major world religions as part of a world history class that begins in sixth grade and continues through seventh grade. Along with Islam, students learn the history and other information about Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism. The poster pictured in the posts was part of a student project.
"The Hudson School District does not use instruction and curriculum to convert students to Islam or any other religion. The post incorrectly made the assumption that by teaching students about Islam we were endorsing it over other religions. The information in this history course is part of an approved curriculum," said Habish-Ahlin.
She noted that some other classes like Global Issues and advanced placement Human Geography could have references to Islam and other world religions as part of their curriculum as well.
Since the district sent out its statement, Habish-Ahlin said she has received a number of phone calls from parents and others questioning the posts and the assumptions that were implied.
Read the school district's response below:
Dear Raider Community,
This morning the Hudson School District was notified of rumors regarding Hudson School's students receiving instruction on Sharia law with the intent to convert students to Islam.
The Hudson School District does not endorse nor condone the instruction of Sharia law. There are no School District approved courses or school sponsored activities within the Hudson School District that are intended to convert, entice or encourage students to join Islam or any other religious faith.
Hudson School District Policy protects students against indoctrination, whether it be religious, political, etc. The School District takes very seriously the First Amendment language in the U.S. Constitution which imposes limitations on government, including public schools, from the endorsement of religions.
We are investigating this rumor and will take appropriate action as needed.
If you have additional questions or concerns please call the School District Offices at 715-377-3702 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
— A message from Hudson School District
Thursday, Feb. 23