Perhaps the notion of there being toddler terrorists originates from all of the graphic images depicted of ISIS and other terrorist groups training children to become haters of anyone not sharing their beliefs. A radically new measure under the U.K.’s Government Home Office wants to up its game in its prevent anti-terrorism plan by proposing that teachers help them identify children leaning on the side of terrorists, the Telegraph reports.
The 39-page document directs daycare workers to report toddlers they see as being at risk of becoming terrorists. Critics are calling it “unworkable” and “heavy-handed,” while also accusing the government of treating providers and caregivers as “spies.”
The document is attached to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill, which is pending at parliament. It includes “nurseries and early years childcare providers,” along with schools and universities, as having a duty “to prevent people being drawn into terrorism.”
According to the consultation document, an excerpt of it summarizes the proposal.
“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.
“They should know where and how to refer children and young people for further help.”
There’s a concern that it may not be practical to make it a legal requirement for staff to report “toddler terrorists.” David Davis, the Conservative MP and former shadow home secretary, particularly feels that the measure is unworkable and heavy-handed.
“Are they supposed to report some toddler who comes in praising a preacher deemed to be extreme? I don’t think so… “
Isabella Sankey, a human rights body director of Liberty, says this will not make a difference to terrorists. Additionally, it’s not good for the children because it instills a sense of mistrust.
“… It will sow seeds of mistrust, division and alienation from an early age… “
A government spokesman tells the Independent that the document in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill “will be seen in a similar way to their existing safeguarding responsibilities” by observing toddler behavior in case they are “drawn in” to terrorism.
“We are not expecting teachers and nursery workers to carry out unnecessary intrusion into family life but we do 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.”
Will the government really require teachers to report a toddler they feel will support — or become — terrorists?
[Photo Credit: Annandale United Methodist]