SALEM, Utah — Parents are expressing concern after a teaching intern at a middle school in Utah asked students to create a propaganda poster for the barbaric Islamic group ISIS or another terror organization.
The intern gave the assignment to both of her World Civics classes at Salem Junior High School to “help students better understand the goals of terrorist groups and the methods they use to gain support.” The class had reportedly been studying terrorism in the Middle East and the use of propaganda, including during World War II. She noted to students that if they were uncomfortable with the activity, they could approach her to request an alternate assignment.
The front of the assignment listed “8 reasons young Muslims join ISIS.”
“In spite of the abundance of church buildings in Europe and in the United States, Muslims see moral standards deteriorating rapidly as they see Americans and Europeans accepting as normal same-sex marriages and people living together without being married,” it read in part.
But the concept of drawing an Islamic propaganda flag didn’t sit too well with some parents.
“We shouldn’t be talking about how ISIS recruits,” Annie Langston, whose daughter attends the class, told reporters. “We should be discussing the events of what they have caused to figure a way of how to deter that and how to help better the world.”
She said that she didn’t think the timing was right for the assignment considering last week’s massacre in Paris.
Another parent, who did not wish to be identified, told KUTV that he was concerned his son might end up on a terror watch list because he had to conduct online research about ISIS for the assignment.
Nebo School District Public Information Officer Lana Hiskey said that the school received several complaints.
“We’re grateful when parents have a concern, that they will call the school and let the principal know immediately,” Hiskey KUTV. “There were just over 60 students involved in this assignment and we’ve had four phone calls or communication with parents that had concerns.”
The intern has since apologized and the assignment, which had not been pre-approved by the school, has been withdrawn.
“The teacher was very apologetic,” Hiskey stated. “You know she’s young, she’s naive and her intent was different than how it played out. She has apologized profusely, and talked to the students the next day.”
“We don’t want students going on the internet and looking up terrorist things,” she also outlined. “This was a classroom project and it’s been withdrawn and she’s talked to the students and let them know that was not the intent.”