High school writing assignment asks students to ‘pretend you are a Muslim’

by Kyle Olson UNION GROVE, Wis. – Pretend you’re a Muslim. That’s what a 10th grade World History writing assignment asks students to do at a Wisconsin high school.

WISN talk radio host Vicki McKenna posted Union Grove High School teacher Beth Urban’s email for a five-paragraph essay on Twitter.

It reads:

–Pretend you are:

1. Muslim male/female in U.S.

2. Give 3 examples of what you do daily for your religion and any struggles you face.

3. Again, 5 paragraphs (intro, 3 body paragraphs, closing.)

**Keep in mind we’ve been doing work and watching documentaries that have the facts needed to write the essay.

Union Grove Muslim essay assignment fullEAGnews emailed Urban to obtain more information on the assignment but she did not respond.

Specifically, we wanted to know if there were similar assignments based on other religions or just Islam, as well as what documentaries were watched to prepare for the essay.

A parent of the student who received the assignment tells EAGnews, “I feel that the purpose of the assignment is to show prejudices towards Muslims in America or to invent them or exaggerate them.”

The parent, who asked to remain anonymous, doesn’t blame the teacher for the essay’s instructions.

“I did not voice my concerns directly to the teacher because I do not blame the teacher. I believe this is a curriculum issue. The teachers are not using their own curriculum, the school boards/superintendents do generally,” according to the parent.

“I brought attention to it because I felt that it was inaccurate for World History. I would have no problem with this assignment if they were to pretend they were in the Middle East and practicing their religion. I first was bothered because it seems that if any Catholic issues are brought up attention is brought to the school and (the assignment) banned being a public school.”

EAGnews reported on another controversial lesson two years ago – almost to the day – at the same high school.

At that time, students were given a crossword puzzle that defined conservatism as “the political belief of preserving traditional moral values by restricting personal freedoms … ”

“The definitions of conservatism and liberalism make me sick,” parent Tamra Varebook told EAGnews. “I think it’s horribly distorted and it’s biased.”

After EAG’s report, the publishing company, Cerebellum Corporation, announced it would discontinue selling the “skewed” assignment.

“Although we are careful to screen the quality of our products, we are not always able to identify the problems seen in Liberalism vs. Conservatism,” Cerebellum President James Rena said in a statement sent to EAGnews.