AMARILLO, TX - An Amarillo woman is concerned about voodoo and black magic being a part of her sixth graders English class, but the school district says it's just a part of the state-issued curriculum.
The mother, who will be referred to as Mary, did not want to reveal her identity, but spoke to NewsChannel 10 about her concerns. Mary pulled her daughter out of Sam Houston Middle School this week because of "dark subjects" being taught as literature.
Dracula, Marie Laveau, and other witch tales are not Mary's idea of sixth grade literature. "It's something that shouldn't have been brought into the school period. At all," she said.
Mary says she found entries about voodoo and black magic in her 6th grade daughter's journal for English class. Her daughter says her class read stories about Marie Lavaue, Marie Jolie, Dracula, and other stories about women marrying the devil. Some of the stories were accompanied by video clips that Mary says were much too graphic for a 6th grader.
"I had to tell my child that you know, voodoo is something that you don't seek and look into. Because it's a dark world and we don't believe in that, we believe in God," she said.
Mary says she tried to express her concerns to her daughter's teacher, but was repeatedly ignored. The state issues the curriculum that every 6th grade English teacher must teach in class, but it's up to every individual school district to decide the schedule of the subjects, and up to every individual teacher to decide what materials to use to teach it.
"At the campus level, they decide what texts and other materials they will use to support and teach those standards," AISD Core Curriculum Specialist for Secondary English Language Arts, Jennifer Wilkerson said.
Wilkerson says the content on Marie Laveau and Dracula was a part of a lesson to teach "themes and genres" in folk tales. "The students are asked to read, analyze, and draw conclusions from themes and genre from works of literature in various cultures," Wilkerson said.
But to Mary voodoo is not folklore, it's a religion that she doesn't want her child exposed to. "It is stepping on boundaries because for one we can't have the bible in school. We can't study about the bible, but why is ok to study about Marie Laveau," she said.
AISD says if parents have any concerns about content being taught in the classroom any school should be willing to provide that child with separate assignments.