Volusia schools will keep using history book


VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - The Volusia County School Board has decided to keep a world history textbook that some parents wanted pulled from classes because they say it offers a pro-Islamic worldview.

The board made its decision after hearing four hours of public comment Monday.

According to reports, the board didn't take a formal vote after hearing from some 80 speakers. Only board member Linda Costello pushed for a more thorough review.

School board chairwoman Diane Smith gave the book a vote of confidence, and members Candace Lankford, Stan Schmidt and Ida Wright agreed it should remain in classrooms.

The Republican Party of Volusia first raised concerns about the book two weeks ago, claiming it is biased with more content on Islam than other religions.

The group's argument has since evolved, with participants saying what is written about Islam is inaccurate and that there are omissions.

But Muslim advocates, Democrats and even students banded together as well, claiming the Republicans' argument is based on fear.

"This isn't about equality in textbooks. If you speak to the protesters, a lot of them are saying hateful, anti-Muslim things and I think that's un-American. I think that's really sad to see people pointing that kind of hate," said Hassan Shibly of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

"What we're asking for is the truth. Truth in education, balance in education. I don't hate anybody. I don't hate the Muslims, but they've got to tell the truth in the textbook," said Tony Ledbetter of the Republican Party of Volusia County.

Supporters said it's important to teach students about all religions.