WCPSS COMPLETES REVIEW OF CONTROVERSIAL GUEST SPEAKER
May 23, 2007 – The Wake County Public School System today completed its investigation into the controversial guest speaker who spoke to Enloe High School classes at the invitation of an Enloe history teacher earlier this semester. As part of this process the district interviewed students and staff and reviewed materials related to the speaker’s presentation. The investigation also included a comprehensive review of the teacher’s performance and of the district’s policies and procedures relating to the use of guest speakers.
The investigation showed that, while the speaker described his own personal experience of religious persecution in Egypt, this was not his primary message. He spent most of his presentation conveying his anti-Muslim and pro-Christian views and distributed flyers that denigrated Muslims and the Islam religion, while promoting Christianity.
As a result of the investigation, Superintendent Del Burns has strengthened existing procedures to emphasize the district’s expectations for the use of guest speakers. The new procedures remind teachers and speakers that: “Materials and presentations must not denigrate any culture, race, gender, national origin, or religion. Also, while factual information on politics, religion, culture, or ethnicity may be presented, proselytizing is not permitted.”
According to Superintendent Del Burns, “Absolutely under no circumstances will we allow proselytizing or the denigration of any culture or religion in our schools. All students in the Wake County Public School System should be able to come to school each day feeling respected and supported.”
Burns concluded, “The presentation of the guest speaker at Enloe was unacceptable and very regrettable. However, because of it, I believe we have clarified expectations and provided better guidance and support to our teachers regarding the appropriate use of outside resources. On behalf of the school system, I apologize to members of our Muslim community who were understandably concerned and offended by this incident.”