The Turnbull Government is set to amp up efforts to press forward with its “deradicalisation” agenda at schools.
While passing the move off as a bona-fide (well intentioned) example of government concern for local communities, it is clear that such moves will only further the marginalisation and distrust of children coming from certain backgrounds at schools.
The news is being reported today by the ABC (see below), with the government saying that the goal is to “give school staff the appropriate training and resources” to “understand radicalisation, for students to be given the resources to avoid such influences, and for school communities and parents to better share information.”
Hot on the heel of news about new online initiatives to target young individuals by “suggesting “deradicalisation” websites to them automatically based on their browsing patterns, such announcements and measures are set to increase, not decrease, the “marginalisation” felt by young people in the community.
Government promises more help for schools to fight teenage extremism
In the face of a growing number of children and teenagers being exposed to radical and violent extremism, the Federal Government is ramping up its plans to give schools and parents more help to intervene.
Incidents like the shooting death of New South Wales police accountant Curtis Cheng outside the Parramatta police station, at the hands of 15-year-old gunman Farhad Jabar have pressed the issue of youth radicalisation into the spotlight.
In May last year, the Government called for a review of measures supporting youth at risk of radicalisation, and in December the Council of Australian Governments made a commitment to better resource schools, families and students to tackle the issue.
Education Minister Simon Birmingham said teachers and school staff needed locally focussed measures to combat radicalisation, particularly when their primary role was teaching the school curriculum.
“That is why we are closely working with states and territories, with schools and in partnership with families and local authorities to help reduce marginalisation and build students’ resilience to radicalisation and violent extremism,” Senator Birmingham said.
The Government will base its response on research from Monash University’s Global Terrorism Research Centre.
The goal is to give school staff the appropriate training and resources to understand radicalisation, for students to be given the resources to avoid such influences, and for school communities and parents to better share information.
Justice Minister Michael Keenan said schools were an appropriate place to make a difference in children’s perspectives.
“Sadly, we have already seen a disturbing trend of not only more Australians, but increasingly, younger Australians subscribing to terrorist ideologies, with tragic consequences,” Mr Keenan said.
“Those who work with our young people are best placed to identify changes in behaviour and to intervene early to prevent our youth from going down the wrong path, before a law enforcement response is required.”
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