“Are we going to be open to a variety of different perspectives versus are we going to limit and censor and shut down the educational experience and environment to keep out people with certain views?”
Hmmm. That’s a tough one. Better ask Omid Safi.
By Yonat Shimron for the Raleigh News & Observer, with thanks to Twostellas:
The former Enloe High School history teacher who invited a Christian evangelist to speak to his students is not taking his reprimand quietly.
Social studies teacher Robert Escamilla said the Wake County school system squelched free speech and academic freedom — and he is finding a growing group of supporters.
In the days since he was reassigned to Mary E. Phillips High School, 100 of his former students have signed a petition to have him reinstated at Enloe. The chairwoman of the social studies department at Enloe wrote a forceful letter to the school board calling him a “sacrificial lamb.” A Web site (www.freeesco.com) is being built and bank account has been set up to help with his legal bills.
Escamilla maintains he did nothing wrong when he invited Kamil Solomon, an Egyptian-born Christian who lives in Raleigh, to speak to 300 or so Enloe students about his persecution at the hands of the Egyptian government. On the contrary, Escamilla said, he thought the visit by the evangelist was an educational exercise that exposed his students to different opinions and challenged them to form their own views.
The question is this, he said: “Are we going to be open to a variety of different perspectives versus are we going to limit and censor and shut down the educational experience and environment to keep out people with certain views?”
Escamilla, who readily avows his own Christian faith, acknowledges that Solomon was not neutral toward Muslims. But he insists that his guest did not denigrate Islam or attempt to convert students to Christianity during the visit.
The school system sees it differently. In a sharply worded release last month, Wake County Schools Superintendent Del Burns said Solomon’s primary message was to convey his anti-Muslim and pro-Christian views. Burns has apologized to Muslims for Solomon’s visit. And he issued new guidelines that require guest speakers to sign forms saying they will not denigrate any culture, race, gender, national origin or religion….