A Bristol middle school teacher's plan to have a Muslim woman talk to students about her religion was canceled because of push-back and threatening comments made on social media.
Friday, a silent demonstration happened at 7:30 a.m. at the Northeast Middle School in support of love and tolerance for all people, according to organizers.
"The more you know, the more you know about other cultures, the less you judge," said Tina Taylor, a mother and Board of Education commissioner. "I think the fact that all these comments came in is exact reason why we need to have this assembly. There is a lot of misinformation, there is a lot of judgment. I think the parents could probably use this assembly."
People gathered on the green with signs to reflect those intentions.
"I’m out here to make sure that people understand that love matters in Bristol and I personally value diversity," said Mary Rydingsward of Bristol. "I feel that it improves education."
"I definitely know that we all need to learn about other religions," said Lucas Taylor, a 6th grader.
The demonstration stemmed from the 7th grade teacher's scheduled event to have the Muslim woman speak about Islam in a social studies class. The presentation was to be called "What It's Like Being Muslim in America." The subject was world religion.
A letter was sent home to parents about the once scheduled presentation and made its way onto social medial. It sparked controversy with people who did not think religion should be taught in school.
Bristol superintendent Susan Moreau said the teacher was worried by some of the phone calls and emails she received after news of the event was posted online.
The speaker's appearance was canceled.
In light of that, however, a silent and peaceful protest was planned for Friday morning outside of the school.
Organizers of "Stand with Love" asked the public to stand in solidarity with them, for Muslim families that reside in Bristol and their children who attend the schools.
Channel 3 was told that representatives from other religions planned to have Moreau put together a panel to talk about various religions.
"The bullying and threats are not acceptable to me as a citizen so I just want the students who go to school here and the others in the community to understand that love matters," Rydingsward said.
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