Security Concerns over Homework Close County Schools
- By Sydny Shepard
- Dec 18, 2015
A day before students were set to go on winter break, Virginia schools in Augusta County were closed down because of security concerns following an Islamic calligraphy controversy in a world geography class that garnered national attention.
Superintendent Eric Bond, posted a statement on the school division website saying school would be cancelled the Friday before winter break. In addition, all activities for the weekend were cancelled and all administrative offices were closed for the weekend.
In his statement, Bond said the division received an overwhelming amount of electronic communication about a Riverheads High School world geography teacher who assigned a worksheet about Islamic faith for homework. It asked students to copy the Islamic statement of faith in Arabic.
Over the next couple of days, the “tone and content” of the emails from around the country received by school board officials would be enough to deem the schools unsafe. An increased police presence was noted the day after the homework was assigned.
“While there has been no specific threat of harm to students, schools and school offices will be closed, Friday, December 18, 2015,” Bond’s statement read. “We regret having to take this action, but we are doing so based on the recommendations of law enforcement and the Augusta County School Board out of an abundance of caution.”
Sydny Shepard is an Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media, Inc. She received her BA in Journalism, Public Relations & New Media at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She currently writes and edits for Occupational Health & Safety magazine, Security Today and Security Products magazine.