School District Cancels Muslim Speaker After Opposition

SHERIDAN, AR — After a vigorous response in opposition from the community, the Sheridan School District canceled a Muslim speaker scheduled to address a class.

When Kathy Wallace caught wind of what the school district had planned, she wasn’t too thrilled.

“We had been told that a Muslim was gonna come and speak to the children of the [Sheridan] Middle School,” Wallace said.

It’s something she says shouldn’t be done on a particular day generally reserved for remembering the terrorist attacks on our country.

“Since that nationality was responsible for 9/11,” she explained her feelings. “We just didn’t feel like it was right for him to come speak on 9/11 to the American children.”

So Wallace, along with many others in the community, took their complaints straight to the district.

The district says it canceled the Muslim speaker because of the response.

In a statement released Wednesday, District Superintendent Brenda Haynes wrote, “The purpose of the invitation was to have a member of that faith inform our students that Muslims are not identical in their beliefs with regard to the use of terror.”

But not everyone opposed the idea.

Robert Poston is a veteran, and the idea of thousands dying at the hands of terrorists will always be a horrific thought.

“It still causes me pain today,” Poston remarked. “It crushes my heart.”

However, he doesn’t see the harm in having a Muslim speaker and actually encourages it.

“Just because someone’s Muslim doesn’t make them bad or a terrorist,” he said. “I wouldn’t be opposed at all … We need to know.”

The district stated, “There was not, and is not, an intention to justify, or even dilute, the facts surrounding 9/11.”

The district plans to reschedule the speaker, claiming it was not canceled because of his religion or what he might say.

They say some people in the community might not have fully understood what the purpose of having invited him was for.

When he does come, the district did say students will be expected to be respectful of the speaker whether or not they agree with him. The student could be required to write an essay for demonstrating a lack of respect.

You can find the full statement from the school above.

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