hat tip-Margo I.
Friendswood principal who OK’d Islam presentation is OUT
June 4, 2008 Houston Chronicle
Our neighborhood reporter, Thayer Evans, received this terse announcement from Friendswood ISD late Wednesday:
Robin Lowe, Friendswood Junior High Principal, has accepted another administrative position effective immediately.
The process for a new junior high principal has begun.
If you’ve been reading the online comments (earlier blog posts here and here), you’ll know that Lowe was at the center of a controversy involving this PowerPoint presentation given to students May 22 by two women with the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Houston.
I’ve written a story with what we know so far. Read it here. Unfortunately we couldn’t get any comments from district officials because we only learned the news after business hours.
Details have been trickling out. In a letter apologizing to parents and community members on Saturday, Superintendent Trish Hanks said the presentation was in “response to an incident that occurred between students at Friendswood Junior High School and the perception and fear that it caused to some involved.” She also said CAIR considered it a “hate crime.” (Here’s another note where Hanks describes the district’s Quaker roots.)
This evening, I learned from the president of CAIR Houston, Tarek Hussein, that a Muslim boy was physically attacked at the school. He said he didn’t want to provide details because he didn’t have the family’s consent. But the presentation, Hussein said, was meant to educate students in the predominantly Anglo Christian community — Friendswood Junior High is 83 percent Anglo — about Islam and hopefully to prevent future harrassment. Hussein said he hopes to give the presentation at other schools.
On Saturday, Friendswood Superintendent Trish Hanks sent a memo to parents and community members saying that she had authorized the presentation for staff only — not for students. She said she had asked her deputy superintendent, Sherry Green, to express that sentiment to Lowe.
Asma Siddiqi, one of the presenters with the American-Islamic council, said she simply discussed facts about Islam, sticking to a PowerPoint slide show. The council provided a copy of the presentation to the Houston Chronicle. Titled “Islam: Respecting Diversity,” it discusses the size of the Muslim population, the basic tenets of the religion and the dating customs.