Texas school discrict cancels plans to offer federally-funded Arabic classes after parents protest

The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram reports:

The Mansfield [Texas] school district has backed off plans for an Arabic studies program after almost 200 parents showed up with questions at a meeting at Cross Timbers Intermediate School on Monday night…The Arabic studies program, funded by a five-year, $1.3 million Foreign Language Assistance Program federal grant, was to begin this semester at Cross Timbers, then spread to Davis Elementary and Howard Middle schools in the fall and to Summit High School by fall 2012.

Arabic culture was to be integrated into the curriculum in elementary and intermediate schools, then offered as a language credit in middle and high schools…

Parents at Monday’s meeting ranged from supportive to upset, said Willie Wimbrey, assistant principal at Cross Timbers.

“We had people who were animatedly fearful of anything to do with Islam,” he said. “Others want their children exposed to everything. Others who say, We teach about Christmas, why not other religions? All cultures and major religions are taught throughout the state.”

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