Students at an Australian school were asked to plan a terrorist attack “to kill the MOST innocent civilians in order to get your message across” as part of a class assignment, Australian Associated Press (AAP) reported Wednesday.
The society and environment teacher at Kalgoorlie-Boulder Community High School in Western Australia asked Year 10 students — aged about 16 — to pretend they were a terrorist planning a chemical or biological attack in Australia.
One parent, who lost a family member among the 202 killed in the 2002 Bali bombings, complained to the local newspaper in the township of 30,000 people that the assignment was “offensive.”
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.
Terry Marino, the principal of the school — which is about 370 miles east of Perth — said the assignment was inappropriate, and that the remorseful teacher was inexperienced and had no intention of offending, Australian public broadcaster ABC reported.
“The teacher, who is relatively inexperienced, made a well-intentioned but misguided attempt to engage the students in an assignment on contemporary conflict and how beliefs and values influence the behaviors and motives of individuals,” Martino told the local newspaper.
Martino said he withdrew the assignment as soon as he heard of it.
Australia has lost more than 100 citizens in terrorist attacks overseas, mostly in Indonesia. In recent years, it has uncovered two major terrorist plots and arrested a dozen people on terrorism and conspiracy charges.