Brevard County school board discusses controversial history textbook

Lawmaker, groups say history textbook favors Islam

Published On: Dec 24 2013 03:02:33 AM EST   Updated On: Aug 14 2013 08:50:05 AM EDT
BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. -

The Brevard County School Board will continue to use a controversial textbook that some parents say is pro-Islamic. The decision came one day before classes started on Wednesday.

One by one, board members shared their views about the 900-page Prentice Hall World History textbook during their regular board meeting Tuesday night.

"This textbook, however subtle it may be, is still sending a message. That message is going to young minds who may take it for fact," said board member Michael Krupp.

Board members, along with some parents are concerned that an entire chapter is dedicated to the rise of Islam, but other religions are left out. Board members also say language in the book favors Islam.

Vice Chairman Amy Kneessy shared an example about 9/11.

"They use the word terrorist, but at no point do they call them Islamic terrorists," said Kneessy.

Chairman Barbara Murray also chimed in, but weighed in on the other side.

"It's very scary when government officials start dictating to our educators what ought to be taught," said Murray.

But despite concerns, the board decided on a compromise. The county will continue to use the book, but not without also creating a task force made up of experts in the community to create supplemental information for teachers that aren't mentioned in the textbook.

Paul Donovan has five grandchildren that attend Brevard pubic schools and said he isn't happy with the school board's decision.

"You have that stuff written in black and white, and you need to get rid of it," said Donovan. "What I think we have here is a pure case of indoctrination, we're indoctrinating our kids to radical Islam."

Kathy Mardirosian also believes the book is biased, but said the board came to a good compromise.

"If there is 26 pages about Islam, we need equal information about Christianity and Judaism," said Mardirosian. "But I think the board's decision about supplementing it is the best way we could go right now."

There is no timeline on when or how much it will cost the county to create supplemental information on the various religions for teachers to use.

Local 6 News partner Florida Today reports the texbook has been used in Brevard County for three years. It was chosen by a committee of educators and parents, but the controversy has grown within the last month.