By Linda Trimble, Daytona Beach News-Journal
DELAND — A world history textbook that sparked a heated controversy over the way it covers Islam will remain in Volusia County high schools, the School Board decided Monday after hearing four hours of public comments about its merits and shortcomings.
“I’m still confident with this book and its presentation to our students,” School Board Chairwoman Diane Smith said after hearing from nearly 80 speakers with widely differing opinions. …
The atmosphere at Monday’s meeting was quieter with opponents and supporters of the textbook filling the boardroom to overflowing while a small number of people milled around outside.
And a new group — students — weighed in Monday on the controversy.
Brian Vaughn, a Student Government representative at Spruce Creek High School, turned in a petition he said was signed by more than 500 students at five high schools in favor of keeping the current textbook and curriculum.
“We hope that the School Board will respect our voices in the process of education and reject voices of intolerance and censorship,” the petition reads. …
The last of Monday’s speakers was Rhiannon Dotson, a 12-year-old sixth-grader from Orlando.
“I feel we should learn about all cultures and religions,” she told the School Board. “This whole thing is about hate and ignorance. Please don’t teach me and my friends hate.”