On Wednesday, Jan. 27, a Michigan-based law firm filed a lawsuit in federal court against Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) on behalf of John Kevin Wood and Melissa Wood who objected to their daughter completing a high school World History assignment in October 2014. In addition to filing the lawsuit, the Woods’ attorneys filed a motion for preliminary injunction with the Court on Friday, February 19, 2016, relating to the issuance of a No Trespass Order in October 2014. The school system issued the No Trespass Order in accordance with Maryland law and in response to perceived threats of physical harm by Mr. Wood as well as threats of significant disruption to the safe and orderly operation of the school.
Mr. Wood admitted in an October 2014 interview with the Maryland Independent, which was reprinted Feb. 5, 2016, that “he instructed a La Plata school official to take the ‘Muslim-loving’ assignment and shove it up her ‘white [expletive]’ and that he promised to contact the media and ‘bring a [expletive] storm down on them like they’ve never seen,’” It was these statements that caused school officials to anticipate that Mr. Wood would cause a substantial disruption in the school and which lead to the issuance of the no trespass order.
The case is now in litigation, and the school system will not comment on the allegations contained in the lawsuit. As for the motion for preliminary injunction, the school system informed the Woods of its willingness to discuss the order in October 2014, including assurances it deemed necessary to have the order lifted.
On Oct. 27, 2014, Superintendent of Schools Kimberly Hill and Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Amy Hollstein met with Mr. and Mrs. Wood to discuss their concerns with the World History curriculum and arranged for the parents to meet with the La Plata High School principal in early November 2014 to discuss lifting the no trespass order. Mr. and Mrs. Wood did not attend the meeting, and at no time since then has Mr. Wood attempted to arrange a meeting with the principal to get the order rescinded.
As in October 2014, administrators at La Plata High School continue to remain ready to sit down with Mr. Wood to discuss lifting the no trespass order.
At that time the Woods initially raised concerns about the assignment, CCPS released the following statement to clarify what is taught in its high school World History curriculum:
The complete statement can be found at http://www.ccboe.com/pr/school-system-clarifies-world-history-curriculum/. Additionally, the state World History class curriculum recommendations are posted on the school system’s website at http://www.ccboe.com/PDF/worldhistorystandards.pdf.
Charles County Public Schools provides 26,300 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Pamela K. Murphy, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.