Song about Islam wasn’t meant to offend, Ocean View school district says after parent airs concerns
The Ocean View School District apologized after a parent expressed concern about a song related to a lesson on Islam in her son’s seventh-grade social studies class.
Parent Nichole Negron posted a picture of the song lyrics inside her son’s notebook on a Huntington Beach community Facebook page Tuesday.
In the Spring View Middle School social studies class, lyrics to the melody of “Fight Song” by pop artist Rachel Platten were changed to include key concepts on Islam. Singing the lyrics was meant to help with memorization, according to a public statement district Supt. Carol Hansen issued Wednesday.
The modified lyrics read: “Like a sandstorm, On the desert, Sending camels, Into motion. Like how a single faith, Can make a heart open, They might only have one God, But they can make an explosion.”
The song was part of a lesson that took place in the class before the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris occurred.
Negron and her mother, Susan Negron, attended the Ocean View School District board meeting Tuesday night to express their concern about the lyrics.
“I believe that by singing this song, the children feel comfortable believing that maybe Allah is the only God and maybe that they should start following him,” she said in an interview with CBS Los Angeles on Tuesday.
Before the board meeting that evening, the school administration and the teacher of the class met with the family during the school day to clarify any confusion and resolve concerns.
Hansen issued an official statement apologizing on behalf of the district Wednesday.
“It was unfortunate that the lesson on Islam ended just prior to the tragic world events on Friday, Nov. 13,” the superintendent said in the statement. “It was not the intention of the teacher to incite anger or offend.”
The school’s seventh grade curriculum is guided by California Content Standards and district curriculum. The teacher, a longtime educator at Spring View, was adhering to the district’s social studies curriculum, the statement said. When the seventh grade social studies classes cover world history, the learning materials include early civilizations; the Roman and Islamic empires; and world religions, such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism.
Negron wrote in a later post on the Huntington Beach community Facebook page that she was “not trying to teacher bash.”
“I simply was looking for advice on how to handle something I thought inappropriate,” she wrote.