School District Closes Following Threats over Controversial Calligraphy Lesson

Threats came in the form of emails, phone calls and Facebook messages.

Outrage over a homework assignment in Virginia caused a school district to cancel classes on Dec. 18.

Administrators for Augusta County Public Schools decided to close the district’s schools following a provocative Islamic calligraphy lesson that led to controversy, according to

As part of the assignment, students in a world geography class at Riverheads High School had to write down Islamic religious text in order to learn the intricacies of calligraphy.

The statement they copied down translates to “There is not god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”

Many parents took to social media to voice their frustrations and raise awareness about the assignment, which some claimed went against their family’s religion.

As the assignment gained recognition, the school began receiving phone calls and emails from people upset about the assignment, although a statement by the school assured people that there was no specific threat to students.

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In response to the messages, District Superintendent Dr. Eric Bond and the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office initially made a joint decision to increase the amount of deputies onsite at schools in the district. After the story made national headlines and messages continued to flood in, authorities decided it was best to cancel classes through the weekend.

Many of the complaints were sent through Facebook messages and officials described them as “threatening and very profane in nature.” A lot of the complaints came from people outside of Virginia.

Additional police officers are expected to stay on school grounds through Friday, when the district’s winter break begins.

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