A ninth grade teacher in Utah gave students a homework assignment this week that had parents outraged and has caused a stir online. Just days after the horrific terror attacks in Paris, the unnamed teacher sent kids home to research and create propaganda posters for terror group ISIS. The assignment was eventually canceled, and the school has issued an apology.
"Salem Junior High recently learned from concerned parents of an assignment regarding extremists use of propaganda to spread untruths and misunderstandings. Upon learning of this assignment, the administration reviewed the concerns with parents and teachers. After consultation, the assignment was immediately withdrawn. If parents have any concerns, please call the administration at Salem Junior High."
To call the assignment a dumb move would be a colossal understatement. Perverse might be better. Utterly moronic. Sickening. Those are words that come to mind.
Students researching their posters would be searching the internet for actual ISIS propaganda, putting themselves at risk in addition to being exposed to the very propaganda that has polluted other teens too young to yet understand the full implications of what they are seeing. This assignment would be bad enough in class under supervision. But to send the kids home to work on it perhaps alone goes beyond irresponsible and into downright negligent. Just hear what this parent said:
To complete her assignment, 9th grade Mikalia ended up on the Internet, where she typed in, 'how to recruit for ISIS' into Google. Her mother thinks it's an inappropriate topic for her teenager to explore while the world remains on high alert after recent threats from the deadly terrorist organization. She decided to write a letter to the teacher and the principal, asking for an explanation.
Langston said: "In light of what happened in Paris, is that the reason for this assignment? I feel a different assignment or report could’ve been chosen or a discussion in class about the tragic events."
The school took 'action" by "sitting down" with the teacher to discuss it. "The assignments that have already been turned in," said the principal. "They have been shredded."
The carelessness here screams "liberal thinking", and it is hard to imagine that there was not a bias in this. Leftist teachers have a long history of trying to see "the other side" on political, social, or international issues. And by "other side" they mean "not American." It's not hard to imagine exactly what this teacher was hoping the kids would bring away from their assignment. But it is possible the teacher actually somehow crazily thought that this was a good way to understand how extremists use lies. But even granting that, the colossal lapse of judgment seems to be grossly understated by the school.
At Liberty Unyielding, Howard Portnoy tried the research portion himself. His first result was another example of the liberal outlook on terror. What a surprise.
Photo by screenshot. One student's drawing of ISIS poster.