Moves that have concerned members of both the teaching and general community have finally started taking place. As first reported last night by the School Watch Muslim Student Support Initiative, we can reveal that executive staff in NSW schools have begun ‘training’ to spot signs of radicalisation in school children.

Case studies are being used as part of this training to observe would-be “tell tale signs” of radicalisation, with the usual ridiculous tropes high on the list of watch-out signals.

One case study that was presented to executive staff is of a 15 year old Muslim school girl who ‘admits’ to her teacher that she was shown ‘violent’ online videos from Syria and that she wanted to travel to Syria and learn to ‘fight’ in order to ‘help her brothers and sisters being murdered’.

Other signs that executive teachers and staff at schools are being “trained” in regards to include:

  • Missing basketball practice;
  • Not appearing to socialise with her small group of close friends as previously;
  • Spending more time alone.

These sorts of embarrassing case studies are, needless to say, ludicrously simplistic and reductionist in how they depict ‘radicalisation’, and will only help proliferate the most damaging stereotypes about young Muslims, leading no doubt to suspicion at schools.

That ‘missing basketball training’ could ever become a sign of radicalisation shows the extent to which a government-assisted, media-hyped hysteria has been fashioned in the consciousness of people in Australia.

The lack of willingness to acknowledge that events overseas often concern Muslims – both young and old – is another feature of these misplaced “training” regimens. If, as is feared, young Muslims started being singled out for being “radicalised” on such grounds, the sense of resentment is only likely to increase, not decrease.

The School Watch Muslim Student Support Initiative is an important new community initiative worth supporting. We encourage our readers to connect to this important grass roots platform.

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