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Utah school apologizes for homework assignment to make propaganda poster for terrorist group

SALEM, Utah -- Students in ninth grade at Salem Junior High School were given a homework assignment where they were told to draw a propaganda poster for a terrorist organization.

After parents complained, the assignment was canceled. However, many students had already completed it, leaving some parents concerned about what they had been exposed to in the process.

Annie Langston couldn't believe her 14-year-old daughter Mikalia was given the assignment. Nebo terrorism assignment poster 1

"My initial response was, 'there’s no way you’re going to do this assignment,'" Langston said.

To complete her assignment, 9th grade Mikalia ended up on the Internet, where she typed in, 'how to recruit for ISIS' into Google. Her mother thinks it's an inappropriate topic for her teenager to explore while the world remains on high alert after recent threats from the deadly terrorist organization. She decided to write a letter to the teacher and the principal, asking for an explanation.

Langston said: "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."

Langston received a response from the teacher soon after, apologizing for the misunderstanding and informing her the assignment had been canceled. She also received a phone call from the principal. Nebo terrorism assignment poster 2

"They’ve sat down with this particular teacher, and it has been taken care of," Langston said. "The assignments that have already been turned in, they have been shredded."

Mikhail never turned in her poster, and she brought it home to show her mother.

"When I found out she kept it, I told her rip it up," Langston said.

The assignment was given by a first year teacher, but Annie Langston doesn't want to see anything bad happen to her. She believes it was an honest mistake and in every other respect, this is a good teacher for her daughter.

Nebo School District Communications and Community Specialist Lana H. Hiskey sent Fox 13 this statement Friday:

"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. If parents have any concerns, please call the administration at Salem Junior High."

55 comments

  • Adam

    How come we never get the teacher’s name in these stories? Is the teacher a Muslim? Was this part of the curriculum or was it her idea? This is bad journalism! The public deserves names.

    • BGrumbles

      Nope, she’s not a Muslim. She’s an ROTC member who wanted her students to see the negative power of propaganda.

      • I'm Not In Charge

        It would be nice if the article articulated that. It’s pretty significant to the story.

        I guess they don’t want to waste funds on type characters. After all, web posting is pretty expensive.

    • Aaron Pugh

      Ha! This just reminded me of a time when I was 10 or 11 and our art teacher told us to start by drawing 4 right angles however we wanted. Without even realizing it, I drew a backwards swastika. Teacher then cracked an uneasy smile and asked me to start over.

  • Anita Nayboe

    .Its unexcusable and completely unexceptible No child in any school should touch this subject. Have them make a poster about the Natzi propergander notes that were dropped in World War 2.
    Listening to the Fox News cast of Out # and listening to their opinions regarding wheather or not the children were old enough and can handle the assignment ?????
    These people just murdered innocent people in france just recently they were attending a concert some were eating a meal.. Would she still have wanted to do it if one of her family members while looking up into the barrel of an automatic gun and were shot dead ???????? .
    l can not imagine that i would have been asked to do the same assignment in school while we were at war with Germany. It would never have been drempt up and here lies the total emotional detachment of an American teacher. I am know ashamed and embarersted to be an American Citizen i was proud when i was naturalized in 2002.
    I am ashamed.
    Anita Naybor

  • ANOTHERBOB

    The assignment was in poor taste, the parents were wise to question it, and he school was smart to apologize. In California teachers like to think they know what is better for students than the parents do. Thank goodness this isn’t Calfornia where they push the LGBT lifestyle.

  • TRE

    Unacceptable. The teacher needs to be fired immediately.

    How about drawing the American flag? Why is this teacher celebrating (honoring) the attentive dedication of the pupils in the action of drawing the enemy’s propaganda flag–the one used when they dance over Westerner’s bodies.

    That teacher is sick… and should not be allowed to be near children.

  • george

    how about. for the poster.
    do like killing people?
    do you like raping people?
    do you like beating people up?
    fo you hate women?
    do you gate education?
    if so go and join isis.
    if not educate your self here, since isis does not like educated people, does not like women.
    so where do you stand?

    • george

      how about. for the poster.
      do like killing people?
      do you like raping people?
      do you like beating people up?
      do you hate women?
      do you hate education?
      if so go and join isis.
      if not educate your self here, since isis does not like educated people, does not like women.
      so where do you stand?

  • Sop Spiritofpeace

    FBI should begin to investigate this teacher. I am not surprised this teacher is part of a sleeper cell or jihadist. There are many sleeper cells whom are already infiltrated in our nation. Many of these sleeper cells are involved with our politicians.

  • Willwrite Forfood

    Look for this “Teacher” to be recognized as being recruited and training in Syria several months from now ready to blow herself up. Her recruiting efforts for this same type of homegrown terrorism is abhorrent.

    And yet, her efforts at “connecting” with the Eric Harris/Dylan Klebold-types would’ve garnered them 100% scoring grades, and fostered their anger and interests in carrying-out the types of attacks we not wonder if they will happen, but when.

  • Dawn Bates

    I don’t understand how school officials could not have seen this and stopped it before it was assigned. Apologizing after the fact is just plain ridiculous. You can stretch a student’s mind without this kind of propaganda

  • Lisa Smith

    Where is the common sense here? You google that stuff and you get put on a watch list in case you were serious. Terrorism is BAD… murdering people like that is BAD. What is there to learn from teaching children to recruit for BAD organizations? There is ZERO logic here. The teacher being a first year teacher is no excuse. It’s plain old common sense that you don’t give children this kind of an assignment. it doesn’t teach them anything other than how to recruit or find information on how to join ISIS. We don’t need to teach them sympathy for terrorists. FIND ANOTHER WAY to teach current events. Try explaining what ISIS does… there are millions of stories on that. Try focusing on what terrorism is and why it’s used. Try talking about the innocent victims of terrorism. ANYTHING but teaching sympathy and teaching children HOW to find out where to join ISIS.

  • laytonian

    If they TRULY want to teach about propaganda, have them bring examples of their local church’s “faith promoting” materials and pick that (easily) apart.

    • C'MON LAYTONIAN

      Our local religions “promoting faith” aren’t promoting the mass killings of non-believers.

      Take a seat.

    • Finny Wiggen

      Your irrelevant bias is better left on the trib’s website.

      There are fewer intelligent people there to smirk at your childish.

  • Jo

    This particular curriculum is mandated to be taught at this time by Utah . The lesson plan she used was actually recycled and had been taught by three different teachers over the last three years. The school is Miss stating that this was not approved. Furthermore the assignment clearly stated that if you are uncomfortable doing it there is an alternative assignment you could do. None of the three families that came forward approached her about doing an alternative assignment. Neither did they call her or the school they went straight to the media. You do the math… its all b*******

  • Jay Myers

    I’m curious, what was this teachers intention? Course outlines are approved by the board of education. So if the board of education never approved this assignment, then the teacher had his/her own agenda. Is he/she muslim ? Perhaps a more extensive background check should be done on this individual. Or a revised security check.

    Residing in Utah, could be someone worth looking into. Sleeper individual doing a recruitment hidden as a school project. Any American School Teacher doing a stupid project like this should be fired. Obviously a poor decision choice so why would l want that teacher, teaching my child.

  • Robin Schultz

    As a mother and grandmother, if this had happened when they had been in school, I would have gone BERSERK!!!! What would have happened if,during WWII, a teacher had told her students to make recruitment posters for NAZIS????!! IT IS REPREHENSIBLE!!!!

  • Alexander

    I could see why parents would want this to be voluntary, but these are the types of assignments that create free thinking adults.
    This teacher shouldn’t have to apology.

  • Emily Anderson

    Give the poor teacher a break. She was simply doing her job. She was teaching. And while she should have given them resources to work from, verses a Google search, her intensions were spot on. What? Let’s just pretend Isis does not exist? This was her way of helping them understand the power of propaganda. Beats reading a text book and answering the questions at the end.

  • Jeff Brown

    Yet parents still let them get away with calling CHRISTMAS programs HOLLIDAY PROGRAMS……CAN’T TALK ABOUT JESUS OR GOD BUT TECHERS ARE MAKING STUDENTS PRAISE ALLAH ? Wake up fools. Your kids are being brainwashed and told Islam is no different than Christianity. Quit being cowards. IT’S CHRISTMAS AND ISLAM IS EVIL PERIOD. YET HERE WE ARE PROTECTING THE EVIL HERE WHILE STOMPING ON CHRISTIANS. PLEASE,SOMEONE NAME ONE PEACEFUL MUSLIM COUNTRIES!!!!

  • Scott

    This teacher is not a member of ISIS but just another example of the new generation being out of touch with reality. Who in their right mind would think this is a valuable teaching lesson for children? She should be encouraged to pursue another career immediately, hopefully something away from influencing children.

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