New Policy Would Make Teachers Spy On ‘Potential Terrorist’ Preschoolers

By  | 

diverse group of school age kidsBeing a child care provider can’t be an easy job. With diapers to change, meals to prepare and serve, fights to break up, and noses to wipe, preschool teachers and care providers have a lot on their minds. And for those that work in the United Kingdom, one more concern might soon be added to the list: the responsibility of making sure none of the two-year-olds under their watch are tiny terrorists.

As Raw Story reports, the new Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill currently under consideration by Parliament would require child care staff to identify and report children they believe to be at risk of becoming radicalized. Because, of course, Muslim children can never be treated as just children, even when they’re at the eating-crayons stage of life. A white kid who hears and parrots the F-bomb is just a kid being a kid, but a brown child who repeats the word ‘infidel’? Probably a future terrorist. Sounds legit!

The UK’s Home Office issued a statement about the policy over the weekend, stating:

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.

I guess this makes sense, assuming that ‘fundamental British values’, like fundamental American values, include xenophobic hyperventilation. The ‘learning right from wrong’ part must also be sort of a do as I say, not as I do thing, because it’s hard to see anything right about compelling teachers to act as spies on the three-year-olds under their care. And of course, nothing does more to challenge negative stereotypes than singling out young children from Muslim families for extra attention on the chance they drop some anti-Semitism.

This is a fundamentally troubling take on the idea of a nanny state – literally turning nannies and child care teachers into government spies to report back on the political sentiments of their pupils. For a policy that’s supposed to work against ‘negative attitudes’, it seems to me like it only serves to reinforce those biases: making Muslim toddlers out to be terrorists on the make, whose drawings must be scrutinized and whose words must be mistrusted. Teach them young that they’re the Other and that they’re separate and different from real British children. It sounds like it’s the folks at the Home Office who could use a preschool teacher to enlighten them about having a negative attitude – and perhaps to lead them through singing a few rounds of “Old MacDonald” and “Mary Had a Little Lamb” until they remember what preschool is supposed to be about, and put this proposal in the garbage bin where it belongs.

(Image: Sergey Novikov/Shutterstock)