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Pastor: Norwin textbook ‘denigrates Christians’

A local pastor wants Norwin middle and secondary social studies curriculum committees to rewrite learning objectives of Islamic-related units.

The Rev. Bruce Leonatti reviewed “My World History (Early Ages),” the district’s seventh-grade social studies textbook, and presented a speech to the school board last night titled “Deceptions in Our Textbooks.”

Leonatti emphasized that the problem is the textbook, not the teachers.

“This textbook promotes Islam over Christianity and Judaism. … This textbook denigrates Christians,” he said.

Leonatti, now pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Circleville, formerly taught history at Duquesne High School and in Dayton, Ohio.

He’s involved with “ACT! For America,” the mission of which is to “give Americans concerned about national security, terrorism, and the threat of radical Islam, a powerful, organized, informed and mobilized voice,” according to the organization’s website.

Leonatti, reading from a prepared statement, called the textbook “an Islamic Trojan horse.”

“Without professional objectives, many of the words of this textbook become Islamic pulpits in our classrooms,” he said.

The errors are spread throughout, he said, and the issue is bigger than “just a few minor flaws.”

“Some may quickly shout ‘Islamophobia,” but the real problem here is fear of fear. … Because when people fear, they freeze up and do nothing, or very little,” he said.

Leonatti said he wants the board to ask middle and secondary social studies curriculum committees to rewrite the learning objectives of the Islamic-related units. Objectives in those units, he said, “are not clear, defined and measurable.”

Superintendent Bill Kerr said the district has a set curriculum and that Leonatti is questioning the depth of goals and objectives.

Board president Robert Perkins said the “My World History” textbook has been used for a few years in seventh-grade social studies.

Administrators will look at the issue and make a recommendation to the board whether to make changes, Perkins said.

“We will certainly look at it and decide what we’re going to do,” Perkins said.

Leonatti said he looked at Norwin’s curriculum because he’s a resident of the district.

“These textbooks are very common everywhere,” Leonatti said.

Leonatti said he didn’t “really expect how bad it would be” when he started his review.

He wants the district to work around its bad textbook by writing more specific objectives and avoiding falsities.

“Help me be assured you’re not using the bad stuff in (the book),” he said.

More than 25 members of the public attended last night’s meeting.


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