Alex Massie

Teaching Ten Year Olds To Find Terrorists

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From the Departments of a) Modern Britain and b) Modern Childhood. The Lancashire Telegraph reports:

Primary school pupils are to be shown a film about the dangers of terrorists as part of an organised safety day.

More than 2,000 10 and 11-year-olds will see a short film, which urges them to tell the police, their parents or a teacher if they hear anyone expressing extremist views.

The film has been made by school liaison officers and Eastern Division’s new Preventing Violent Extremism team, based at Blackburn.

It uses cartoon animals to get across safety messages.

A lion explains that terrorists can look like anyone, while a cat tells pupils that should get help if they are being bullied and a toad tells them how to cross the road.

The terrorism message is also illustrated with a re-telling of the story of Guy Fawkes, saying that his strong views began forming when he was at school in York. It has been designed to deliver the message of fighting terrorism in accessible way for children.

Ignoring the fact that the current public mood might support blowing up parliament, there are rather too many parallels with, say, East Germany for this to be a welcome development. Yes, talk of Britain being a "police state" is often wildly overdone, but still, one does wonder what on earth is going on when you see this sort of thing happening. Apart from anything else, it vastly overstates the threat terrorism poses to this country.

Back when I were a lad, I don't recall being encouraged to keep an eye on any Irish chaps we encountered. (They too can "look like anyone"!) Then again,the world hadn't gone stark, raving, bonkers back then either.

Bruce Schneier

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

Topics in this articleInternationaleducationterrorism