Policing schools for violent extremism

A NSW audit of prayer groups in public schools has put the education space at the centre of government efforts to counter violent extremism. Perhaps there is a way for Australian officials and teachers to work together, writes ASPI’s Anthony Bergin.

Schools are now on the frontline of countering violent extremism. The New South Wales government announced a state-wide audit of all prayer groups conducted in public schools following allegations of radical Islam being preached in a Sydney playground.

Premier Mike Baird noted that:

“I don’t think any one of us could have imagined four or five years ago the concept of 13- and 14-year-olds being involved in extremism and signing up for terrorist activities. That’s something almost beyond comprehension.”

NSW Police will develop training for the Department of Education on radicalisation and extremism. That’s sensible, even though the national counterterrorism blueprint, released last month by the Council of Australian Governments, didn’t mention building resilience in schools.

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