Maryland’s public school students learn about Thanksgiving without learning who the Pilgrims thanked: God is taboo in social studies class.
Young students across the state read stories about the Pilgrims and Native Americans, simulate Mayflower voyages, hold mock feasts and learn about the famous meal that temporarily allied two very different groups.
But what teachers don’t mention when they describe the feast is that the Pilgrims not only thanked the Native Americans for their peaceful three-day indulgence, but repeatedly thanked God.
“We teach about Thanksgiving from a purely historical perspective, not from a religious perspective,” said Charles Ridgell, St. Mary’s County Public Schools curriculum and instruction director.
Of course, the Pilgrims’ religious beliefs are part of U.S. history.
Mentioning that the Pilgrims were Puritan is about as close as most administrators are willing to step to integrate religion into their curriculums.
“We mention they were Puritan but students usually just understand that they had a belief system and not much more than that,” said Carol Williamson, Queen Anne’s County Schools’ associate superintendent.
So, students are left in ignorance.
Thanksgiving is usually taught as a part of social studies and emphasizes cultural immersion.
“The Pilgrim Story is read in Spanish and English,” said Alfreda Adams, principal at Mills-Parole Elementary School in Anne Arundel County where 70 Hispanic students attend. “We make sure that we celebrate all cultures.”
Really? Sure you’re not missing one?
Update: Scrappleface has more on Lucky Thursday in Maryland.