Parents in Vernon, New Jersey are outraged over a local middle school teacher’s lesson on September 11, which skipped over the world’s worst terrorist attack and instead focused on the plight of an imaginary Muslim boy named Osama.
Ed O’Rourke, a former U.S. Marine, and his wife, Jodi, told the New Jersey Herald that their daughter’s sixth grade teacher at Glen Meadow Middle School assigned a story titled “My Name is Osama” for students to read on September 11, which his daughter described over dinner.
The Herald reports:
The story … tells a made-up account of an Iraqi immigrant boy named Osama who faces taunts of “terrorist” in school by several students who tell him his mother, who wears a hijab, has “a bag on her head.” After pushing back against his tormenters, the boy is suspended from school for fighting.
The story included no mention of the ideology behind those who carried out the 9/11 attacks, which O’Rourke said should have been a part of the class discussion as well.
“I thought it was a joke at first,” Ed O’Rourke said. “I couldn’t believe it.”
“It would be like, on a day about the Holocaust, doing a made-up lesson about a boy named Adolf being bullied by Jewish kids and saying we shouldn’t blame all Germans – or don’t pick on the poor kid named Adolf on the Jewish holidays,” he said. “It’s grotesque.”
O’Rourke contacted Glen Meadow principal Edwina Piszczek, who relayed his concerns to the district’s acting superintendent, Charles McKay. The next day he met with them in person and removed his daughter from the teacher’s class, according to the news site.
“They couldn’t have been better as far as letting me vent, and agreed that the timing couldn’t have been more horrific,” he said. “They said they were unaware the teacher was planning to do this and that it fell through the cracks, though when I asked if they were planning any disciplinary action against the teacher, they said they weren’t sure at this point.”
District officials have not identified the teacher and refuse to discuss how they are handling the situation, which was reportedly resolved “internally.”
McKay issued a statement Wednesday that doesn’t offer any details parents don’t already know.
“There were concerns expressed by a parent about an article one of our teachers gave out to a class on Tuesday, September 11th,” McKay wrote to the Herald. “I met with our teacher this morning to relay those concerns and then I met with the father to make sure his point of view was heard. Each meeting was civil and instructive.”
O’Rourke told the news site he simply wants teachers to explain the facts about the tragedy that claimed the lives of 3,000 people, including the truth about Osama Bin Laden and other radical Islamic terrorists who carried out the attack.
“I know a lot of firemen and cops who lost family members on 9/11, but unlike the religious extremists who would have no problem blowing all of us up, our society is not going out blaming all Muslims,” he said.
“But there’s also an ideology of people that causes some people to want to kill us and to not respect women’s rights, and that should be taught as well. Instead this teacher was able to influence an entire class with a tainted story made up to show Muslims as victims.”