‘Terrorism Propaganda’ Assignment in Utah High School Prompts Outrage

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
November 24, 2015 Updated: November 24, 2015

After they found out their children had been assigned to draw a “terrorism propaganda poster,” a group of parents in Salem, Utah expressed their outrage to the school.

The front page of the project listed “eight reasons why young Muslims join ISIS,” and the back page required students to draw the poster.

“Create a Propaganda poster for one of the terrorist organizations we have discussed,” it said.

“My initial response was, ‘there’s no way you’re going to do this assignment,'” Annie Langston told Fox13. Her 14-year-old daughter Mikalia, who is in 9th grade, was one of the students to receive the assignment.

Mikalia ended up online where she typed “How to recruit for ISIS” on Google. Her mother was so disturbed by the project and the search that she wrote a letter to the teacher and principal demanding an explanation. 

“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,” she said.

The ISIS attacks on the French capital left 130 dead and hundreds of others wounded.

The first-year teacher soon canceled the assignment and apologized, and Salem Junior High School claims the assignment wasn’t actually approved. 

“We’re grateful when parents have a concern, that they will call the school and let the principal know immediately,” Lana Hiskey, a spokeswoman, told KUTV.

“She was just very enthusiastic and wanted students to understand that propaganda is not good.”

“We don’t want students going on the internet and looking up terrorist things,” said Hiskey.

“This was a classroom project and it’s been withdrawn and she’s talked to the students and let them know that was not the intent.”

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.