Education

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Teacher Asks Students to Think Like a Terrorist

May 12, 2009 10:32 AM
by Shannon Firth
A teacher at a Pueblo County high school in Colorado infuriated parents when she tasked students with inventing a terrorist plot by a foreign power.

A Misunderstanding, or a Cause for Concern?

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District 70 Superintendent Dr. Dan Lere told the Denver 7 News he believes that the students “misinterpreted the assignment.” According to the news channel, Lere added that in the past, students who wrote about terrorist plots, especially anything that targeted the school, might have been expelled.

According to KKTV, a Colorado TV Web channel, Gini Fisher said her daughter explained the assignment to her in this way: “She said you have two minutes to write down on a piece of paper what your act of terrorism would be if you were to come up with an act of terrorism.”

The teacher responsible for the assignment has not been identified. According to KKTV, whether disciplinary action will be taken is still unclear. The assignments will be confiscated and destroyed.

Incidents of teachers who intentionally or accidentally incite debate inside the classroom are numerous.

On May 1, a court ruled that teacher James Corbett had violated the establishment clause of the first amendment by “disparaging Christians during a classroom lecture,” the Orange County Register reported.

The Register explained that Corbett, a teacher at Capistrano Valley High School for 20 years, referred to Creationism as “religious, superstitious nonsense.”

Chad Farnan, a sophomore student when the trial began, brought the charges against Corbett. His lawyer, Jennifer Monk, who works for a Christian legal advocacy group reported, “We are thrilled with the judge’s ruling and feel it sets great precedent.”

In July, Jon Freshwater, a teacher in Mount Vernon, Ohio, was forced by the school board to resign after “preaching his Christian beliefs in the classroom and burning crosses on students’ arms.”

Opinion & Analysis: Reactions to the terrorist

On KKTV’s site, one commenter, who describes herself as an English teacher, writes, “[T]o tell children to come up with their OWN terrorism act is absolutley (sic) horrifying … Why not ask them to journal about what gang they would like to join?”

While an anonymous commenter on Channel 7’s site sympathized with the teacher, adding, “I have done an assignment like this in a college course to get in the mindset of our enemy so that we may better prepare ourselves for those ‘What if..’ scenarios.”

Related Topics: When going to prom is a sin; Bizarre school mishaps

In Findlay, Ohio, 17-year-old Tyler Frost was suspended for going to his girlfriend’s prom. According to the AP, “Frost says he didn’t think going to the dance was wrong even though his fundamentalist Baptist school Ohio forbids dancing, rock music and hand-holding.”

DetentionSlip.org, advertised as “your daily cheat sheet for education news,” explores in an irreverent manner both grave and bizarre mishaps in schools. One of the latest postings cites the story of a Pennsylvania high school that bought shot glasses for its prom favors.

According to The Minneapolis Star Tribune, the principal who agreed to the purchase order, agreed to the decision by accident, signing a form that simply said “‘prom souvenir’ and didn’t identify the mementos as shot glasses.”
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