We Don't Need No Extremism

By BethPH Last edited 108 months ago
We Don't Need No Extremism

As the country plunges into another round of paranoid terrorist-spotting, London teachers are apparently the latest weapons in the war on terror as they are trained to identify extremist attitudes in their classes.

The Learning Together To Be Safe initiative launched by Waltham Forest council claims to provide teachers and, even more worryingly, other students with the skills to spot the signs of extremist behaviour around groups such as the BNP, al Qaeda and animal rights activists. Suspicious behaviour can be referred to the police. Leaving aside the somewhat big brother aspect to this, we wonder about subjectivity - passing counter-terrorism off onto the general public with all its own prejudices and opinions to muddy the waters seems to be a government speciality.

After photographers revolted against being harassed under anti-terrorism legislation, it seems that catching 'em early is the latest strategy. Malcolm Grant, head of University College London disputed the suggestion that the UK's education system should be used for policing radicalism, though Ian Fenn, head of a Manchester college disagrees and likens the initiative to dealing with the concern that a child is involved in drugs.

It's not clear what the signs of extremism actually are; TfL recently identified some signs of fully-fledged suicide bombers to watch out for on the tube though we're not sure nervous behaviour is that unusual in a primary school child, especially if the dog ate their homework.

Last Updated 04 February 2010