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U.K. Teachers Reject Strategy to Prevent Terror by Identifying Radicalized Students in Schools

U.K. Teachers Reject Strategy to Prevent Terror by Identifying Radicalized Students in Schools

U.K. teachers have rejected a government anti-terrorism strategy called Prevent that required teachers to refer students they suspected of partaking in radical or terrorist behavior to police.

Teachers, through the annual National Union of Teachers conference, said they do not have enough support to properly implement the strategy effectively and that it involved relying on stereotypes to the disadvantage of students.

"Speakers at the conference said that while schools and teachers did have a role in safeguarding and protecting pupils from exposure to extremism, in practice Prevent was ineffective and even counter-productive,” said The Guardian.

The union’s general secretary, Christine Blower, agreed that a strategy to counter radical behavior is necessary, but that Prevent is not the best way. Encouraging discussion, she said, is the best way for schools to reach radicalized students in the classroom.

Teachers revealed numerous occasions of young students erroneously- and perhaps even detrimentally- being referred to police for innocent behavior.

One four-year-old student, The Daily Mail said, was referred after misspelling cucumber to resemble the words “cooker bomb.”

At the conclusion of the conference,”[m]embers voted unanimously to ask the Government to develop an alternative strategy to safeguard children and identify risk, and develop resources for teachers discussing difficult or controversial subjects such as religion and terrorism,” said The Daily Mail.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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