Rabat - A group of former students at Riverheads High School in Virginia created a Facebook group to support Cheryl LaPorte, the American teacher who has been under attack after she asked students to practice Arabic calligraphy by rewriting the “Shahada,” Islamic statement of faith.
Rabat – A group of former students at Riverheads High School in Virginia created a Facebook group to support Cheryl LaPorte, the American teacher who has been under attack after she asked students to practice Arabic calligraphy by rewriting the “Shahada,” Islamic statement of faith.
Immediately after the news made headlines in the U.S., the Facebook group in support for the Augusta County world geography teacher has grown from 145 members to nearly 5,000.
“People from all over the country are standing in solidarity with the teacher and her assignment, which have been at the center of a national controversy this week,” News Leader website said.
“People are sharing stories of their time in LaPorte’s class, teachers are standing in solidarity, and people with no connection to the story are offering their best wishes from coast to coast,” the same source added.
In the Facebook group, several of LaPorte’s former students shared their memorable stories with their teacher, and how her lessons helped them grow strong in their faiths.
Gabby Harlow, who organized the Facebook group in support of LaPorte, said that “learning other cultures and religions in LaPorte’s class helped her to make a decision about her faith.”
“In Mrs. LaPorte’s class, we were encouraged to have an open mind,” Grace Zimmerman, a 2011 graduate of Riverheads High School, said.
Anna Arneson, a sophomore at the same school, who took LaPorte’s class last year, said “I feel like it was a really good experience to open yourself up to other cultures.”
“The thing is, she wasn’t forcing Islam on anyone,” Arneson added addressing accusations of students’ parents who said Cheryl was indoctrinating students.
Christian parents requested LaPorte fired for “violating children’s religious beliefs.” However, the petition was denied by the authorities who said LaPorte’s actions were “in line with state standards.”
Despite her actions were not a violation of rights, the Augusta County school district cancelled all classes on Friday as a safety measure over harassing calls and emails against LaPorte received at the school.
LaPorte, who has been under strong attack after the incident, has remained mostly silent, except for a message of gratitude to her students and everyone who stands in solidarity with her.