Shippensburg residents want school district to bring back cultural lesson

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – More than 100 people gathered at Shippensburg Middle School Monday evening to discuss a culture course that’s been suspended.

The Shippensburg School District sent out a letter last week, saying second graders will no longer learn about early Asian culture and the religious beliefs of that region.

The decision was made after parents expressed concerns about second graders being asked to explain the difference between how Hinduism and Buddhism view reincarnation. But other parents said they want the course brought back.

Assistant Superintendent Matthew Strine said the entire course is suspended until the district has a chance to evaluate it in its entirety. Strine said there is a chance the district could bring back the course, and move forward without students completing that assignment.

“You get a math book full of problems, and you don’t assign every problem in the book,” said Strine, “So its something we need to take a hard look at.”

Superintendent Beth Bender will make the final decision on whether to bring back the course, called “Early Asian Civilization.” It is an educational resource, not a curriculum, so the district doesn’t need board approval. But Bender will consult with board members. A decision could come in the next week to ten days.


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