Insensitive, but probably more thought provoking than anything they did all year. Which means it had to quashed. Can’t have students thinking.

A high school teacher who assigned her class to plan a terrorist attack that would kill as many innocent Australians as possible had no intent to promote terrorism, education officials said Wednesday.

The Year 10 students at Kalgoorlie-Boulder Community High School in the state of Western Australia were given the assignment last week in a class on contemporary conflict and terrorism. Principal Terry Martino said he withdrew the assignment as soon as he heard of it.
The students were asked to pretend they were terrorists making a political statement by releasing a chemical or biological agent on “an unsuspecting Australian community,” according to a copy of the assignment received by the West Australian newspaper. The task included choosing the best time to attack and explaining their choice of victims and what effects the attack would have on a human body.

“Your goal is to kill the MOST innocent civilians in order to get your message across,” the assignment read.

Grades were to be allocated based on students’ ability to analyze information they had learned on terrorism and chemical and biological warfare and apply it to a real-life scenario, the newspaper reported.

  1. The Watcher says:

    I was involved with the Civil Defense program here some 40 years ago. We did mock nuclear attacks with some regularity, and I was involved in the planning, including damage (and lethality) assessments.

    Very interesting stuff…. I learned “what my chances were”, but it was also an exercise in making such attacks survivable. I considered that extremely useful, and helped implement some of this information locally, and up the line….

    (One key finding – we were building communications centers without realizing that anything resembling an antenna would be destroyed if we were even remotely close to a small detonation. Design spares, and stuff that can be slapped up quickly with few people. Did we need to be able to communicate? Fortunately, we never found out, but I think I would rather have had the capability than not.)

    Burying your head in the sand doesn’t help, and these kids weren’t asked to apologize to the Arabs because the terrorists were hurt while attacking us….

  2. ECA says:


    nice thought
    Random role play..
    Make them THINK.


  3. Rich says:

    The teacher is pointing up an absurdity or imbalance in our society- talking about, teaching about, this or that is harmless; this strange assignment is also harmless. We’ve become obsessed with symbolism and speech rather than actions. It’s a disease.

  4. Nitroneo says:

    This is actually a very active part of Anti-Terrorism Training Programs offered around the world. It may be unpopular, but it is very, VERY, effective. Most of the emergency services around the world also participate in these training sessions regularly. It is something that everyone should understand. Like it or not, we all need to begin to think about this and how easily it can happen at any moment, and in any neighborhood. We need to stress the importance of human life and endeavor to teach the importance of understanding and acceptance of others beliefs at the same time.

    10 year students certainly are old enough to begin thinking about such scenarios as they are beginning to understand the world and the political and religious reasons why some societies believe in the use of terrorism. We should begin though with discussion groups and gaining knowledge of why they choose to use terrorism versus cooperative working & thinking.

  5. Mr. Fusion says:

    So what was wrong with this assignment?

    It isn’t as if the teacher suggested they torture prisoners or hold a prisoner for years without charge or access to a lawyer. It wasn’t as if the teacher wanted them to write about manipulating the market through ignoring regulations until the economy crashed. It wasn’t as if the teacher assigned them the task of how many lies they could make up against the government.


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