School board meeting canceled after protest over history book

School board meeting canceled after protest over history book referencing Islam

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Dozens gathered outside the Volusia County School Board offices on Tuesday to voice their concerns about a history book, specifically a chapter dedicated to Islam.

"In the world history book, an entire chapter is devoted to one particular religion, and if they're going to be teaching world history and world religions, it should be taught equally," said Rick Sarmiento.

Others stood in support of the religion, including the very high school students that are learning from the book.

"The fact that an entire chapter is devoted to Islam is, in my opinion, really great, because it affords the students the ability to learn about something they may not have encountered in formal education before now," said Brian Vaughn, a student in the district.

The protest was organized after Deltona High mom Valerie Velez voiced her concerns when her daughter brought home the book.

"In terms of religion, that's my personal decision, she should learn what I choose as her parent for her to learn and not what her school chooses for her to learn," Velez said.

Protesters had planned to voice their concerns at the school board meeting, but it was abruptly canceled in the interest of public safety.  School officials didn't give specifics -- only saying  they received information from law enforcement that forced them to cancel the meeting.

"I was not too happy about and then all of a sudden I'm thinking are they going to have another meeting and nobody even know about it,"said Barbara Taylor

Muslims in attendance ended in prayer outside the school board, taking a stand in their beliefs.

"It's our belief that when we learn about each other, then we can stop feeling hate towards each other, education is the key to a diverse and healthy free society," said Hassan Shibly with Council on American Islamic Relations.

School officials have not said when the school board meeting will be rescheduled.

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