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- In 2015, a Colorado middle school asked female students to bring wide scarves or hooded sweatshirts” for a voluntary field trip to a mosque.
- The field trip also included stops at a church and a synagogue.
- All students were told to “wear appropriate long pants” and make sure their ankles were covered.
For several years now some Americans have voiced concerns that Islam is creeping into public education. The headline of a recent blog post exploits those fears.
"Colorado school forces students to wear hijabs," reads the headline of the Jan. 30 post, which was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
But students were not mandated to "wear hijabs" in the classroom. Even the blog post goes on to say that the Douglas County School District in the Centennial State "informed parents that students would be attending a field trip to the Colorado Muslim Society’s Majif Abu Bakar as well as a synagogue and Greek Orthodox cathedral."
Students were instructed to wear "appropriate long pants," the story says, while female students were also told they "must bring scarves or hooded sweatshirts for the mosque."
Here’s what you need to know.
First, though the blog post being shared on Facebook is from 2020, this story originates in January 2015.
That’s when Rocky Heights Middle School in the Douglas County School District offered a voluntary field trip to a Greek Orthodox church, a Jewish temple and a mosque as part of a social studies class about world religions.
"It is not mandatory," the school’s principal, Mike Loitz, said in a statement to clarify misinformation about the field trip at the time. "If the decision is made to not participate in a field trip, alternative educational opportunities are provided."
Students who choose to attend, Loitz said, "are expected to respect the dress code of the host facility." The school said "all students must wear appropriate long pants. Ankles must be covered. Girls must bring wide scarves or hooded sweatshirts for the mosque."
The blog post correctly reported that but its headline gives a different impression, leading readers to believe that a Colorado school district was requiring all female students to wear a Muslim veil. (As this New York Times story explains, "hijab" is not described as an article of clothing in the Koran, but as something like a curtain or "separation" that provides privacy.)
What really happened: a Colorado middle school asked female students attending a voluntary field trip to wear cover their heads with a scarf or sweatshirt to abide by the dress code of the mosque they would visit.
We rate this headline False.
Taphaps.com, Colorado school forces students to wear hijabs, parents fight back, Jan. 30, 2020
PolitiFact, Did the U.S. Education Department introduce an Islamic indoctrination program for public schools? April 5, 2017
New York Times, What’s that you’re wearing? A guide to Muslim veils, May 3, 2016
Snopes, Colorado school district forces students to follow Sharia dress code? Feb. 3, 2016
Douglas County School District, Rest of the story: RHMS world religion study, visited Feb. 13, 2020
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