Student’s assignment: Make an ISIS recruitment poster


A 9th 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.

What could possibly have prompted this assignment? Here is what the school said in their statement, via Fox 13 in Salt Lake City, which broke the story and sent it viral on Facebook:

“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 After consultation, the assignment was immediately withdrawn.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.

Do we really need children imagining what it is like to be recruited by ISIS?  What might attract young people to it?   The selling points?

But I’m with the kid’s mum – how the hell do you explain to the NSA that your kid has been researching how to join ISIS ‘for a school project’?


– TR

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.