A warning to little kids in the UK: Screaming "no!" at your nursery school teacher could get you on the terrorist watch list.
New counter-terrorism proposals from the government would require nursery school staff to report any toddlers who they believe are at risk of being terrorists.
Apparently, the British government is extremely fearful of the terrible twos. These special instructions come from a 39-page consultation document issued by the Home Office in an anti-terrorism plan.
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These efforts are described as preventive measures, using nursery staff to "assess the risk of pupils being drawn into terrorism."
While terrorism is indeed a growing threat that manifests itself in many different ways, people are critical of the idea that radicalization starts from such a young age – not to mention the idea that school staff even have the skill sets to suss out mini-terrorists.
How can a nursery even tell if a toddler is more likely to become a terrorist? If he's Muslim? If he's Arab? If he's a POC?— Zoya Zia (@ZoyaZaraZia) January 5, 2015
In the UK, nursery workers are being encouraged to report toddlers that are "at risk of being turned into a terrorist". Paranoid much.— Ross McElvenny (@ross_mcelvenny) January 5, 2015
But consultation paper states: “Senior management and governors should make sure that staff have training that gives them the knowledge and confidence to identify children at risk of being drawn into terrorism and challenge extremist ideas which can be used to legitimize terrorism and are shared by terrorist groups.”
David Davis, a Conservative MP and former home secretary, called the practice "heavy-handed."
“Turning our teachers and childminders into an army of involuntary spies will not stop the terrorist threat,” said Isabella Sankey who works for Liberty, a human rights body.
A Home Office spokesman told The Telegraph that they “are not expecting teachers and nursery workers to carry out unnecessary intrusion into family life.” They do, however, “expect them to take action when they observe behavior of concern.”
“It is important that children are taught fundamental British values in an age-appropriate way. For children in the early years, this will be about learning right from wrong and in practitioners challenging negative attitudes and stereotypes.”
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The school community, on the other hand, believes that its teachers should focus on development at such an early age and mostly feel that it is not their job to act as police – unless there is a big fight over the prized toy dump truck.