A school in Utah has canceled an assignment in which ninth-grade students were instructed to craft a terrorism propaganda poster.

The point of the task was to help students grasp “the goals of terrorist groups and the methods they use to gain support,” according to a worksheet cited by the Associated Press, which reported that the assignment was given earlier this week at Salem Junior High School, in Salem, Utah.

The teacher “wanted the students to understand how propaganda can be wrong and lead people incorrectly,” Nebo School District spokeswoman Lana Hiskey told the AP.

CBS affiliate KUTV posted pictures of the assignment worksheet, which mentioned the Islamic State, and told students to create a “neat, colored, professional” poster.


The worksheet included a note from the teacher, saying: “If you are uncomfortable with this assignment you may speak to me about an alternative assignment.”


The front of the assignment worksheet listed “8 Reasons Young Muslims Join ISIS.”

Hiskey, the district spokeswoman, told KUTV that school officials reviewed the assignment after receiving complaints about it from several parents — and that the assignment “has been withdrawn.”

“We’re grateful when parents have a concern, that they will call the school and let the principal know immediately,” Hiskey told the station. “There were just over 60 students involved in this assignment and we’ve had four phone calls or communication with parents that had concerns.”


One parent whose daughter received the assignment said it was an inappropriate class project, particularly given last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the coordinated attacks, in which extremists killed 130 and left hundreds more injured.


“We shouldn’t be talking about how ISIS recruits, 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,” said the parent, Annie Langston, according to ABC News. “I thought this isn’t right, not right now.”

2News got a phone call from an anonymous parent who was concerned that his 14-year-old son, who received the assignment, would research terrorist propaganda online and end up on a federal terrorist watch list.
“We don’t want students going on the internet and looking up terrorist things,” said Hiskey. “This was a classroom project and it’s been withdrawn and she’s talked to the students and let them know that was not the intent.”

Salem Junior High recently learned from concerned parents of an assignment regarding extremists use of propaganda to…

Posted by Salem Junior High School on Thursday, November 19, 2015

According to the AP:

The assignment came as students were discussing the Middle East, terrorism and propaganda, including the use of propaganda during World War II, Hiskey said.

Hiskey told the AP that there no plans to take disciplinary action against the teacher, who has not been named.

This post has been updated.

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