TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – A Vigo County Muslim man insists he was never told to not go beyond the main office at his daughters’ elementary school, as school administrators suggest.
“Nobody told me to stop,” recalled Mohammed Alharbi, 34, a father of four. “Unfortunately, they gave me a visitor’s tag: that means I can go and observe class to class.”
Alharbi’s visit to Dixie Bee Elementary School in Terre Haute, the morning of Friday, February 8, is stirring much controversy; it’s even launched an internal investigation behind the walls of the kindergarten through fifth grade school, according to high-ranking leaders of the Vigo County School Corporation.
Alharbi told News 10 the Dixie Bee school principal had approved his visit at least a couple days in advance. Alharbi said he shared with the principal his family’s plan for his three daughters, all of whom are enrolled at Dixie Bee, to deliver a flower and a flier – one for each teacher – and that he planned to accompany the girls on their classroom-to-classroom campaign.
“I went to the office, and I told them I would pass the flowers with my children,” Alharbi shared. “I will hold the basket for the kids, and the kids will pass the flowers for teachers.”
The message printed on the cards the girls handed out could be considered religious in nature; but Alharbi insists it was more a “universal” message about peace and love.
“My message was to thank the teachers who educate my children,” Alharbi said.
But one of Alharbi’s cards, obtained by our sister station WTHI , reads: “Mohammed is a Prophet of Mercy.”
Despite the controversy, Mohammed Alharbi says he still loves Dixie Bee Elementary, and still wants his girls to attend the school they so dearly love.