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All Augusta County, Virginia schools are shut down today, due to a homework assignment on Arabic calligraphy that spiraled into threats.

Usually kids have to hope for inclement weather to provide surprise days off during finals season, but Augusta County students lucked out today thanks to intense backlash over a homework assignment given to students enrolled in a world geography class at Riverheads High School. 

The assignment directed students to copy the shahada, the Islamic statement of faith, styled in elaborate Arabic calligraphy.

When parents caught wind of the assignment, calls began pouring into the school and district, demanding the assigning teacher, a Ms. LePorte, be fired. Angry parents then organized a local church meeting to retrench their efforts.

The uproar appears to have sparked nebulous fears about security, resulting in the Augusta County School Board issuing a letter Monday declaring the district’s schools safe. By Thursday, however, the School Board had issued another letter expressing security concerns based on the tone and level of backlash severe enough to cancel all district activities today. 

Let’s hope the kids take the day off to study (discreetly.)