A U.S. Marine veteran has gone to court asking a judge to overturn a school’s decision to banish him from a public school campus because he objected to the Islam indoctrination to which his daughter was subjected.
The fight has been going on since 2014, but John Kevin Wood said the issue has become urgent because this is his daughter’s last semester and he doesn’t want to be deprived of the opportunity to be at her graduation events and ceremony.
The Thomas More Law Center said on Monday it filed a motion for a preliminary injunction that would overturn the school’s ban.
The motion for the preliminary injunction that would block the school’s ongoing banishment explains the school deprived Wood of meaningful involvement in the direction of his daughter’s education because the no-trespass order prevented him from speaking at parent meeting in violation of the First Amendment.
The district, the Charles County Public Schools in La Plata, Maryland, also deprived Wood of his constitutional rights “by giving a principal unfettered discretion to ban him – the father of a student – from school grounds without any hearing or opportunity to defend himself because he brought to light the school’s unconstitutional practices.
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WND reported only two weeks ago that the Thomas More Law Center had filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the school, Principal Evelyn Arnold and Vice Principal Shannon Morris.
District officials told WND Arnold and Morris would not be commenting.
The plaintiffs are Marine Corps veteran John Kevin Wood and his wife, Melissa, who “refuse[d] to allow their teenage daughter to be subjected to Islamic indoctrination and propaganda in her high school world history class.”
The lawsuit charged that the defendants’ “curriculum, practices, policies, actions, procedures, and customs promote the Islamic faith by requiring students to profess the five pillars if Islam.”
The students, the complaint says, were required to “write out and confess the shahada, the Islamic profession of faith.”
The lawsuit charges that school officials concealed the curriculum by using two separate history textbooks, one of which contained the Islamic teachings and which students were required to leave at school. The other, which did not contain the teachings, was allowed to be taken home, the complaint explains. The school also excised the Islamic teachings from the course syllabus.
“Defendants have treated plaintiffs’ Christian beliefs and heritage with deliberate indifference, and have been hostile toward C.W. [the student] and her family,” the complaint alleges. It explains that Arnold and Morris violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments as well as state and federal law by “depriving plaintiffs and C.W. of their fundamental right to be free from a public school’s promotion of certain religious beliefs, their fundamental right to be able to speak freely and raise concerns about religion being taught in our public schools without retaliation, and their fundamental right to be free from unjust discrimination against their Christian heritage.”
The legal team notes the shahada states, “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”
“For non-Muslims, reciting the statement is sufficient to convert one to Islam,” the complaint says. “Moreover, the second part of the statement, ‘Muhammad is the messenger of Allah,’ signifies the person has accepted Muhammad as their spiritual leader. The teenager was also required to memorize and recite the Five Pillars of Islam.”
Not only did the district refuse permission for C.W. to opt out of the religious assignments, it imposed grades of zero. Further, the complaint says, the district disparaged Christianity in multiple ways, including the statement, “Most Muslims’ faith is stronger than the average Christian.” The district taught that the West engages in “imperialistic pursuits” and insists “men are the managers of women.”
It also taught: “To Muslims, Allah is the same god that is worshipped in Christianity and Judaism.”
The district’s teachings specified that the Quran “is the word of Allah,” while Jews and Christians “believe the Torah and the Gospels were revealed to Moses and the New Testament writers.”
“The sugarcoated version of Islam taught at La Plata High School did not mention that the Quran explicitly instructs Muslims ‘to kill the unbelievers wherever you find them.’ (Sura 9-5),” the complaint says.
Wood objected and the school responded with its banishment order.
The Law Center said it asked District Court Judge George J. Hazel to overturn the banishment order against Wood.
The law center argues that many time courts considering “the same or comparable issues” have ruled such banishments violate due process as well as the First Amendment.
“It is necessary for this court to restrict defendants’ abuse of power that is contrary to the proper functioning of our country and the proper education of our children,” the team of lawyers argued. “The public’s interest in safeguard free speech favors granting injunctive relief.”
The status quo, with the school’s banishment in place, will cause Wood to be “irreparably harmed.”
“Defendants’ no-trespass order deprives Mr. Wood of his fundamental right to free speech guaranteed and protected by the Constitution,” a brief filed in support of the request said.
The TMLC explained, “In a phone call on the morning of October 24, 2014, John Kevin Wood advised the vice principal that the Constitution forbids the school from instructing his daughter in Islam or forcing her to disparage and denigrate her Christian faith; he reiterated his previous day’s request that she be given an alternative assignment, which was again refused.
“He then threatened to contact the media and lawyers if the school insisted on violating the Constitution. However, the school was adamant and, as a result, his daughter suffered failing grades for not completing the pro-Islam assignments. Later that day, John Kevin Wood was notified by a police officer of the no-trespass order.”
Arnold claimed in the order that he “made verbal threats against the school” and those “actions” were a “safety threat.”
There was no provision for any appeal, hearing or explanation from the school on what officials thought to be threats since the only threat was to notify the media and contact lawyers, the brief explains.
The school, the lawyers wrote, denied Wood “any opportunity to be heard at all because he espoused a Christian message and disagreed with defendants’ Islamic indoctrination of his daughter.”
“Here, defendants Arnold and Morris banned Mr. Woods from the grounds of his daughter’s school because they disagreed with his viewpoint that his daughter should receive alternative assignments to defendants’ unconstitutional promotion of Islam. … Their disagreement with Mr. Wood’s message is the sold reason for the no-trespass order.”
Wood was deployed in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm “and lost friends to Islamic extremists,” the complaint notes. Later, he “responded as a firefighter to the 9/11 Islamic terror attack on the Pentagon.”
“Wood witnessed firsthand the destruction created in the name of Allah and knows that Islam is not ‘a religion of peace.’ The school prevented John Kevin Wood from defending his daughter’s Christian beliefs against Islamic indoctrination, even though as a Marine, he stood in harm’s way to defend our nation, and the Charles County Public Schools,” the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit concludes: “Defendants deliberately [chose] this curriculum, instructional materials, and texts, and punished Christian students who disagree with espousing religious statements and reproducing religious doctrine that promotes Islam. The actions, policies, procedures, customs, and curriculum of defendants unconstitutionally endorse the Islamic religion.”
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