Melbourne: A high school teacher in
Australia created ripples when she assigned her class to plan
a terrorist attack using chemical or biological warfare.
The Year 10 students at Kalgoorlie-Boulder Community
High School in Western Australia were set a task by their
environment teacher last week to pretend they were terrorists
planning to make a political statement by releasing a chemical
or biological agent on "an unsuspecting Australian community."
"Your goal is to kill the MOST innocent civilians to
get your message across," she told the students in a written
assignment form, `The West Australian` newspaper reported.
Students were told that as terrorists they could
choose the best time to attack and decide where to release
their weapons and what effects it would have on the human
And they were told marks would be allocated on their
ability to analyse information they had learnt on terrorism
and apply it to real life scenario.
Most of the students were "horrified" at the exercise
they had been given and refused to hand in their assignments.
As the word spread, Principal of the school Terry
Martino intervened to get the assignment withdrawn.
"The teacher is relatively inexperienced, made a
well-intentioned but misguided attempt to engage the students
in an assignment on contemporary conflict," Martino said in
comments forwarded to the State Education Department.
The Principal said he highly regarded teacher and felt
she was not promoting terrorism, but had just made a mistake.
"She understood the topic was inappropriate. She is
remorseful," the Principal said, defending the teacher.
The incident created a furore countrywide, but the
school declined to identify the teacher, citing her privacy.
The newspaper said that they too were not given the name.
But the shackles are up in the State Education
Department which has asked the school for a full report.
Parents of the students are up in arms against their
wards being assigned such violent tasks and a number of them,
the paper said, have written protest letters to the
The incident also evoked revulsion worldwide, with
bloggers all over Australia, US and UK protesting that
students in civilised societies should be taught terrorism and
"The world already has too many terrorists and there
was no need to make more," said Australian blogger Glenda.
An American blogger wrote, "It is real worry that the
principal is defending the teacher."