Grant Co. school cancels Muslim guest speaker after backlash

SHERIDAN (KATV) -A speaker is invited to a Grant County school on the anniversary of September 11th. But the appearance was abruptly canceled after parents found out the guest was a Muslim.

Administrators say backlash from parents made them cancel the event at Sheridan Middle School.

"I thought it was cool that we were going to be able to have somebody come talk to us from a different point of view," said Cassie Nance.

13-year-old Cassie Nance and her eighth grade social studies class was supposed to have a special guest Wednesday.

"They thought that it was cool too," said Cassie about her classmates reaction to the guest speaker. "They were excited to have somebody come."

Cassie's teacher invited her neighbor, a Muslim, to come and teach the class that not all Muslims condone violence and many were just as appalled by the terrorist acts on 9/11.

"He wanted to make sure that there was always two sides to every story and I thought it was a good idea," said Mikki Reagan, Cassie's grandmother.

But what some thought was a good idea, offended and appalled others. The talk was suddenly canceled Wednesday.

"She said that she was told that he couldn't come and that's all that she could say," said Cassie.

But one parent says it's not just that a Muslim was invited to speak on the anniversary of 9/11, it's that she didn't know about it until today.

"It turns my stomach for one thing that I didn't know ahead of time," said a parent who was against the guest speaker giving the lecture. She chose to remain anonymous. "It's sacred, today is very important to a lot of us. The school should have left it at our discretion, as parents, to let us know if we wanted our kids subjected to that or not."

But Reagan says lack of wanting to understand is the problem.

"We all need to be understanding of each other. That's what we're supposed to be," said Reagan.

Her granddaughter agrees.

"It's not right to treat him differently than everybody else," said Cassie.

The school is saying that they do plan on rescheduling this lecture for a later date. No word on when that is.

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