Thursday, October 06, 2016

Suit Over High School Assignment On Islam Moves Forward

In Wood v. Board of Education of Charles County, (D MD, Sept. 30, 2016), a Maryland federal district court refused to completely dismiss a suit by parents of an 11th grader who complained that their daughter's World History assignments "promot[ed] the Islamic religion over other faiths" and "required the students . . . to profess statements on the teachings and beliefs of Islam in written worksheets as graded homework assignments." The father warned the school against retaliating against his daughter for her adherence to her Christian faith. The court dismissed plaintiffs' claim for injunctive relief as moot since their daughter had now graduated.  However the court allowed the parents to move ahead with their Establishment Clause and compelled speech claim for damages against the school's principal and vice principal, saying in part:
Here, while discovery and trial may or may not prove otherwise, Plaintiffs allege in the Complaint that in addition to learning facts about the background and beliefs relevant to Islam, Defendants required C.W. to “confess” the Islamic Profession of Faith....
The court also allowed the father-- who was barred from school grounds after threatening media coverage and a lawsuit-- to move ahead with his claim of retaliation. The court dismissed due process, Title VI and Title IX claims. See prior related posting.)