An Oklahoma Muslim group asked Jenks Public Schools officials on Thursday to get rid of a film shown to a ninth-grade history class suggesting that Islamic terrorists could have been behind the Oklahoma City bombing.
The History Channel film, “Conspiracy: Oklahoma City Bombing,” examines a variety of conspiracy theories about the 1995 Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing, which killed 168 people.
Adam Soltani, executive director of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and several Muslim parents met Thursday with Jenks officials.
“No student should be made to feel unwelcome in an Oklahoma classroom through the promotion of such conspiracy theories,” Soltani said.
“Showing a conspiracy-based film that misdirects the blame for one of the most tragic events in our state’s history only serves to create confusion and will lead to the spread of misinformation and hostility toward students of Middle Eastern and Muslim background,” he said.
Soltani said parents of Muslim children in Jenks schools brought the film to his attention.
He said Jenks officials told them the film was shown as part of teaching students critical reasoning skills. He said they indicated that they would review the film and decide whether to keep it.
“They didn’t guarantee they would remove it,” he said.
“We were hoping for a more positive outcome.”
He said some parents also have complained that their children were bullied at Jenks schools because of their Muslim faith.
Girls at Jenks Freshman Academy have had their hijabs, or head coverings, ripped off, and boys have been called terrorists and told to go back where they came from, he said.
Jenks Public Schools spokeswoman Bonnie Rogers said the parents were directed to the school’s review process for materials and given the form they needed to fill out to have the film reviewed.
“We’ll follow that policy and see where it leads,” she said.
On the subject of bullying, she said the school does not condone bullying of any kind and that the staff goes through anti-bullying training.
“This is something we take very seriously,” she said.
She said she was unaware of any anti-Muslim bullying reports having reached the administration but that if any cases had occurred, they typically would have been handled at the individual school level.