Judges Rule Charles County School System Did Not Violate Student’s Rights

February 14, 2019

A Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled this week that La Plata High School and its administrators did not violate a student’s First Amendment rights during a world history class that included lessons about Islam.

In the fall of 2014, the family of Caleigh Wood, then a junior at La Plata, sued the school system and some of its administrators claiming two lessons violated Wood’s right to freedom of religion and speech.

One lesson contained a comparative PowerPoint slide titled “Islam Today,” which contrasted “peaceful Islam” with “radical fundamental Islam.” Additionally, the lesson included a fill-in-the-blank worksheet asking students to complete information on the “Five Pillars” of Islam. Wood’s father objected to the lessons, claiming they violated his daughter’s Christian beliefs. He told his daughter to refuse to complete the assignment. The three-judge panel found that the assignments did not advance any particular religion and was introduced for a genuine secular purpose.

The court disagreed with Wood’s claim that the assignments promoted and endorsed Islam and noted in its opinion that the challenged materials constituted a small part of the school’s world history curriculum. “A reasonable observer, aware of the world history curriculum being taught, would not view the challenged materials as communicating a message of endorsement,” Judge Barbara Keenan, who was joined by Judge James Wynn and Judge Pamela Harris, wrote.

“Our schools play an important role in ensuring that our children are provided with information that best prepares them to understand and thrive in a society with many different cultural and religious viewpoints. We present a curriculum with that goal in mind. We are pleased that the Fourth Circuit agreed with us that there was no violation of any student’s rights,” Superintendent Kimberly Hill said.

“School authorities, not the courts, are charged with the responsibility of deciding what speech is appropriate in the classroom. …Although schools are not ‘immune from the sweep of the First Amendment,’ academic freedom is itself a concern of that amendment. Such academic freedom would not long survive in an environment in which courts micromanage school curricula and parse singular statements made by teachers,” Keenan wrote.

“We are pleased with the court’s opinion and believe it rightfully affirms the ability of public school educators to teach students about the role religion has had on world history without violating the First Amendment. We also believe the court’s ruling properly affirms the ability of public school educators to require students to complete assignments with which they may have personal disagreements as long as those assignments are reasonably related to a legitimate educational purpose,” said Andrew Scott, an attorney who represented Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) and several of its administrators.

The Fourth Circuit opinion affirms an earlier ruling by a U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland judge who granted summary judgment in favor of several of CCPS’ employees. The Woods appealed that decision.

74 Responses to Judges Rule Charles County School System Did Not Violate Student’s Rights

  1. Anonymous on February 14, 2019 at 9:36 am

    I bet shes a probably a sophmore in College?

    • You idiot on February 14, 2019 at 11:56 am

      I bet you can’t properly write a sentence.

      • Izheet madraws on February 17, 2019 at 8:59 pm

        Assam llama legos

      • Xkommunik8 on February 18, 2019 at 3:39 pm

        Oh, you mean like you? “I’ll bet.”

    • Anonymous on February 14, 2019 at 12:07 pm

      Nope teen mom.

      • Anonymous on February 15, 2019 at 5:34 am

        Shocker.

      • MTV on February 15, 2019 at 11:49 am

        With her own TV show? Awesome! A real CCPS success story! Congrats!

      • The Templars on February 15, 2019 at 11:52 am

        Is the father an ISIS freedom fighter? That’s crazy! See what happens when you expose our children to the teachings of radical Islam!

      • Bob Jones on February 15, 2019 at 1:57 pm

        LOL, guess someone forgot the sex ed class and how to use birth control

        • Jac deMolay on February 20, 2019 at 5:06 pm

          Yes, the school was more worried about Islamic studies, than health Ed!

          • Bob Jones on February 21, 2019 at 12:04 pm

            Well, mom and dad didn’t do their job then

  2. Anonymous on February 14, 2019 at 9:44 am

    The school has absolutely NO RIGHT to teach children about other religions to so called prepare them for a different religion.Its the parents right and not the schools.TYpical Democratic agenda.

    • Anonymous on February 14, 2019 at 11:16 am

      “The school has absolutely NO RIGHT to teach children about other religions…”
      So as long as the history class is teaching about YOUR preferred religion it’s okay, anything else the school is trying to influence your kid. Typical deplorable

      • Anonymous on February 15, 2019 at 1:51 pm

        NO,typical Democrap pushing their agenda and teaching these kids their beliefs period.

    • Don_Killuminati on February 14, 2019 at 11:16 am

      You do not understand the constitution or the first amendment, and your comment makes my sentiment obvious. Judge Keenan said it perfectly in her opinion for the court. She wrote, “Although schools are not ‘immune from the sweep of the First Amendment,’ academic freedom is itself a concern of that amendment. Such academic freedom would not long survive in an environment in which courts micromanage school curricula and parse singular statements made by teachers,”
      I’m the context of world history and America’s melting pot of culture, you have to be minimally educated about the stark differences in religions to even begin to be considered educated. This introductory material was obviously not advertising for one religion over the other. The court affirms that and reaffirms the intent of our beloved first amendment rights.
      Proudly signed,
      An Anti-theist

      • Anonymous on February 15, 2019 at 2:48 pm

        Lol omg your kids have to learn what other religions are this is ridiculous…. news flash we live in America where all religions are welcome if you have a problem with that then I consider you not American and the opposite of the Patriot that you portray your self as. Why would you want your kid to be ignorant to other religions and customs that they will face in the real world.

    • Pagans Have Come to Pollute Society on February 14, 2019 at 11:41 am

      YOU SAID IT!

      Foreign dogs and heathens!

      Anti-Americans – ALL of them.

      • Georgia Boy on February 15, 2019 at 8:17 am

        We will destroy them. Good will win out over evil.

    • Lp mom on February 14, 2019 at 2:54 pm

      They’re not teaching religion to students- get over yourself

      • Abdullah Proctor on February 20, 2019 at 5:07 pm

        STFU and adhere to Sharia Law!

    • Anonymous on February 14, 2019 at 6:18 pm

      Because everyone at that school is a pinko commie Democrat trying to push their agenda on students. That makes perfect sense.

    • Sierra on February 14, 2019 at 8:32 pm

      How can you conclude that this is the democratic party’s fault? We live in a diverse world so it’s only right that our children be taught cultural and religious tolerance. I am a a Christian but I teach my children to be tolerant of everyone even if their beliefs are not the same as ours.

  3. Cool Story Bro on February 14, 2019 at 9:45 am

    Dont disagree with the ruling, however, we all know that if the student was Muslim, and the assignment was about Christianity, these same judges would have ruled 100% in favor of the student. Just the way it is. And that hypocrisy is the problem with America in 2019

    • Perception is Reality on February 14, 2019 at 11:48 am

      What fools believe that teaching and even ALLOWING the Muzzy dogma is good for ANY true American?

      Are you so stupid you fail to realize that they are only here to kill “the infidel”?

      Our courts are made of democrats – that PROVES that these anti-American traitors are simply wolves crouched at your door.

      Go ahead and cozy up……..You deserve to lose your family and your life.

      • Relax and a grow a set on February 18, 2019 at 8:07 am

        What are you babbling about. Get over yourself. The comment had nothing to do with what you are crying about. If you want to be free of the evil muslims, go to Mexico. None of the muslims are there.

      • Good Christian on February 19, 2019 at 3:49 pm

        “Go ahead and cozy up……..You deserve to lose your family and your life”.

        Another loving Christian thinking critically about the world we live in! It hurts my heart that folks are leaving Christianity in droves, but posts like this remind me that there are still some good guys (and gals) out there. We will not be silenced! We will not learn about religions other than Christianity! God bless the US!

    • Center of Left on February 14, 2019 at 12:13 pm

      Agree. Now lets look to the school administration to explain why tax funding is being wasted on such. maybe the hiring practices need review.

    • joep2 on February 14, 2019 at 1:29 pm

      The student would not even have to be Muslim. Christianity is not taught in public schools, not even the historicity of Christian, which was foundational to the USA. But that part of history is suppressed.

      • Anonymous on February 15, 2019 at 8:09 am

        EXACTLY!

      • J. McCarthy on February 15, 2019 at 8:21 am

        Amen. Our schools are spending time/resources in civics and social studies educating our kids about other cultures. This all plays into left’s grand plan to move from the Bill of Rights towards the 10 pillars of communism.

    • TheTruth on February 14, 2019 at 6:51 pm

      No doubt!!

  4. Anonymous on February 14, 2019 at 9:49 am

    Told you this family was deluded, and didn’t have a leg to stand on.

    • Lol mom on February 14, 2019 at 11:13 am

      The dad has a few screws loose

      • Bob Jones on February 15, 2019 at 9:00 pm

        I read the article from the MD Independent. Dad sounds like he’s Bat Sh#t Crazy

    • Anonymous on February 15, 2019 at 5:37 am

      Yup

  5. John on February 14, 2019 at 10:12 am

    Good hope the lawyers up charge

  6. Lp mom on February 14, 2019 at 10:35 am

    I applaud the court for making the right decision on this case. The dad was crazy to think a school would try to push any religion on a student.

    • joep22 on February 14, 2019 at 1:28 pm

      @lp mom: Schools push religion on students every day by promoting the lies of evolution and the religion of Atheism, as well as the religion of LGBQTUVWXYZ.

    • Wiggy on February 14, 2019 at 4:34 pm

      Yeah, cause schools don’t push any ideals or agendas on their student body. *Insert exaggerated eye roll*

    • Hypocrite on February 14, 2019 at 6:54 pm

      If the student had been Muslim and Christianity was the subject, I guarantee you the ruling would have been totally different.

      • GodBlessTheUSA on February 15, 2019 at 11:57 am

        Yep! Let’s see “Draw your interpretation of Mohammed” as a class assignment. See how the courts would rule on that. Being a Christian is being a target under the socialist democrat mindset, currently trying to take over our nation.

        • Anonymous on February 16, 2019 at 12:10 pm

          This comment doesn’t even make sense

          • Patriot4Life on February 17, 2019 at 8:51 am

            Probably because you are a socialist democrat. When they finally attack the “infidels”, again, be sure to take cover behind a conservative. They are are ones standing up for this country, our rights and beliefs. You might bow down, but many of us patriots won’t. Step up, or step aside!

          • Good Christian on February 19, 2019 at 3:55 pm

            We should have a pin Jesus on the cross. Not offensive and a great way for kids to learn about our saviour!

  7. Taneka Swann on February 14, 2019 at 10:41 am

    It all depends on whats being said in the classroom . I dont agree com0letelt with thisnruling because there are subliminal things go8ng on in the school. Is Christianity given the same time in school and who is validating this information before it is taught. There are some things that should not be taught in school and also if a family has a belief that an assihmney goes against and it is legitimately offensive or contrary to their belief that child SHOULD be able yo opt out without attack rrtaliation, or being ostrecized in the classroom. I dont like that my son was allowed to choose a topic of physician assisted suicide, when any mention of promoting suicide in this climate could be detrimental to a child, teen or an adult. Who thought that was a good idea smh!!

    • Southern Lady on February 15, 2019 at 9:31 pm

      Some one needs to trim their nails and proof read before posting. :)

  8. The Dude... on February 14, 2019 at 10:43 am

    OK, when do they cover Christianity , Judaism, Wicca/Paganism, Heathenry, etc. Oh, just Islam? No, no promotion there.

    • Buda on February 15, 2019 at 7:44 am

      Agreed, instructing something like “Religions of the World” is one thing. However, targeting one religion while ignoring all the others does raise an eyebrow.

    • Just sayin on February 15, 2019 at 11:46 am

      They do in fact cover Christianity and Judaism in the class. Please be educated before making comments. This entire case focused only on the short lesson on Islam, but they were ok with all of the other religions taught. Every student there will tell you this was blown out of hand. It’s the same World History class I took at La Plata over 20 years ago.

    • Idiots Everywhere on February 16, 2019 at 7:30 am

      Reading is fundamental. The class was on all religions of the world, not just Muslims. This whackadoodle was just mad because he hates Muslims. His anger issues appear to be well documented.

  9. Anonymous on February 14, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    As an alumni, I can tell you first hand that this whole case was ridiculous, we learned about all cultures and religion plays a big part in many cultures. Gen Xers are truly the worst generation

  10. Bob Jones on February 14, 2019 at 2:01 pm

    I remember back in the day (1990ish) we learned about Islam in my social studies class, along with Christianity, Judaism, Shintoism, etc. We learned about how each religion was started and how it shaped history. If this girl’s parents thought that learning about Islam was anything new, they’ve been living under a rock. I certainly hope their money on a lawyer was worth it! NOT!

  11. taradies on February 14, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    It’s the freedom to practice (or not practice) the religion of your choice, not the freedom of exposure of other religions… idiots.

  12. Anonymous on February 14, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    So disappointed in the judges! If the word God is not allowed in the class then the pillars of islam should not be. Typical democratic hypocrisy!

    • Anonymous on February 15, 2019 at 5:40 am

      Reading isn’t your thing and I get it. The class was on a myriad of religions, not just one.

    • Anonymous on February 15, 2019 at 1:49 pm

      Exactly,The Democrats push whatever they believe on these kids which is their sick view of the world.And how about the judges worry about putting criminals in jail rather then constantly releasing them and keeping the revolving door of crime going.

  13. b gehrt on February 14, 2019 at 2:40 pm

    With all of the atrocities created by the islamic state [ ISIS ] why do the students even need to know about islam ? america is a nation built on christianity but welcoming you to practice your religion . but to try to force feed a radical and questionable religion on kids is disgraceful . I went to this school and they never taught religion then because you went to a christian church or you did not . it was not a class in school . What the problem is these weak parents raising weak kids to just get in line and follow the one in front of them . not teaching them to lead .

  14. Ben on February 14, 2019 at 7:50 pm

    Thank you Charles County for defending education!

    • Anonymous on February 15, 2019 at 8:17 pm

      Yes Charles County, thank you for NOT providing our children with basic math and life skills. But, they will know all about Muhammad and be ready for all life’s challenges.

  15. Masons Templar on February 14, 2019 at 9:10 pm

    White Christian never want hear about other religions. To scared they are wrong

    • Charles on February 15, 2019 at 6:45 am

      Speaking of wrong, so is your spelling.

    • Anonymous on February 15, 2019 at 8:12 pm

      Enlighten us “Ol’ Wise One”, what are Christian wrong about and Muslims “correct” about? Is it female equality or something else?

    • Joep2 on February 16, 2019 at 8:01 am

      You are very mistaken.

    • Rufus on February 20, 2019 at 2:05 pm

      Typical Racist black comment

  16. SBD on February 14, 2019 at 10:14 pm

    If it had been about Christianity, all the nutjobs would’ve been screamin’ “seperation of church and state”!!! I don’t blame her, the way Islam views and treats women.

  17. Anonymous on February 15, 2019 at 3:39 am

    It’s called World History! You know learn history so that it is not repeated!
    #peoplestillneverlearn

  18. Faye H. on February 15, 2019 at 6:05 am

    So let me get this straight, y’all want students to take a class called “WORLD HISTORY” then not expect a main part of EVERY countries history, religion, to be taught? New flash parents, your kids have been learning about different religions since fifth grade. This isn’t new nor hurtful to their developing minds. Being cultured is a good thing and with world history I learned so many different things about so many different religions yet managed to stay Christian. The courses are made to let you peek inside different countries and learn about them. Not urge you to join a different religion.

  19. Kenneth Kline on February 15, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    Maybe the school should just teach science instead of foolishness.

    • SBD on February 24, 2019 at 7:20 am

      There is foolishness in science, besides it has already produced enough a-hole dorks in the world.

  20. Anonymous on February 16, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    I admit that its misleading to have mosques in the country and not be under sharia law.

  21. MagicCarpetRider on February 16, 2019 at 6:04 pm

    Finally, we will establish our caliphate in La Plata! Allah be praised!

  22. Bob Jones on February 16, 2019 at 7:40 pm

    Dang, I just checked out her dad’s facebook. He is straight up bat sh*t crazy. And a Cowboys fan, so CLEARLY he sucks. I wonder if he forgot to tell his daughter that premarital sex and having babies out of wedlock was against his Christian beliefs? Or is it that he gets to pick and choose what his Christian beliefs are?

  23. Anonymous on February 19, 2019 at 9:25 am

    You democrats are disgusting people and yes the majority of teachers are democrats pushing their agenda on these kids,thats why the world is screwed up because you people are backwards.

    • Bob Jones on February 20, 2019 at 2:17 pm

      False. I’m a Republican I call bullsh#t when I see it. I’m not blind.