The school had a staff position open after its French teacher retired, said Meredith Foster, Daphne High’s principal. “We had to make a decision to replace that foreign language unit,” she said.

School officials believe the class will help prepare students to succeed in a global economy.

But some Daphne residents are upset that the Baldwin County school system is permitting its students to learn what they call “a culture of hate.”

“When you teach Arabic, you have to teach the culture along with it,” said Chuck Pyritz, whose two sons, Isaiah, 17, and Isaac, 14, attend Daphne High. “The culture is intertwined with Islam.”