A Utah school apologized on Thursday for a classroom assignment which tasked ninth graders with creating an ISIS propaganda poster.
The assignment, by a first year teacher, was cancelled after several parents complained, including some who voiced concerns about the internet sites their children would have to visit to conduct their research. One parent specifically worried that their child could end up on a federal watch list, according to Time.
Nebo School District spokeswoman Lana Hiskey said that assignment was given to about 60 ninth graders. Hiskey said: “[The teacher] wanted the students to understand how propaganda can be wrong and lead people incorrectly,” according to the Associated Press.
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“The assignment came as students were discussing the Middle East, terrorism and propaganda, including the use of propaganda during World War II, Hiskey said,” the AP reported.
“She was just very enthusiastic and wanted students to understand that propaganda is not good,” the spokeswoman added.
Annie Langston, mother of 14-year-old student Mikalia, wondered: “In light of what happened in Paris, is that the reason for this assignment? I feel a different assignment or report could’ve been chosen or a discussion in class about the tragic events.”
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Mikalia completed her poster, but never turned it in. Her mother told her to rip it up.
Langston said that her daughter’s teacher is very good otherwise and believes she made an honest mistake. The school district has indicated that the teacher will not be punished and is apologetic.
The school is located in Salem, about 60 miles south of Salt Lake City.
The district issued the following statement, in part, to Fox 13 News:
Salem Junior High recently learned from concerned parents of an assignment regarding extremists use of propaganda to spread untruths and misunderstandings. Upon learning of this assignment, the administration reviewed the concerns with parents and teachers. After consultation, the assignment was immediately withdrawn.
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