I have the most exceptional readers in the world.
When there is wrongdoing in their hometowns, they are the first to let me know – and we’re proud to jump on those stories like a pit bull on a pork butt.
The other day Lisa Erskine, of Barnegat, New Jersey, alerted me to a bizarre story involving Islamic cleaning rituals and a second-grade class at Cecil S. Collins School.
Yes, Islamic cleaning rituals.
The Asbury Park Press reports that a second-grader came home with a health and hygiene worksheet that included references to hijabs and thawbs – clothing worn by religious Muslims.
The worksheet also included a reference from the Koran: “Allah loves those who make themselves clean and pure.”
Journalist Amanda Oglesby first exposed this peculiar incident – interviewing parent Chris Sharpe.
“Everybody was up in arms,” he told the reporter.
So why is a public school in New Jersey teaching children about Islamic cleaning rituals?
Well, the Barnegat Township School District tells me it was all a great big mistake. A whopper of a mistake.
“This worksheet – which was neither carefully reviewed by the teacher nor approved by an administrator – contained a religious reference, in clear violation of district policy,” Supt. Karen Wood told me in a statement.
She blamed the incident on a “novice instructor” who “downloaded a worksheet from the online sharing site Pinterest and utilized it during a lesson.”
So the kids are being taught how to clean the hijabs by a novice?
“We recognize the significance of this error,” she added. “Our parents have been extremely supportive as we take measures necessary to ensure that this remains an isolated incident.”
As you might imagine, folks around Barnegat are a bit upset over what happened.
“If this had the name of Jesus on it, there would be an even bigger outrage,” Mrs. Erskine told me.
That’s a good point. The Good Book does tell us that we can be washed whiter than snow.
“I hope that proper precautions are made to prevent further indoctrination of Islam,” she added.
Rob Russo has a child enrolled in the same school district and he is equally disturbed. He said “zero accountability” is simply unacceptable.
“While I understand that mistakes happen, I am seriously disappointed to learn that a teacher made independent changes to a lesson plan, resulting in information being given that didn’t follow subject matter, or state and local curriculum plans and chose to promote what seems to be their own agenda,” he said.
Meantime, I hope the school district doesn’t mind if I offer some unsolicited advice regarding Islamic laundry rituals.
Just tell the kids to use Tide Plus – with Downy. You’ll get the brilliant clean you love along with a hijab that’s Downy soft and fresh.