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Back to July Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 258 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS JULY 2007

New Jersey School Prepares for Christian Prayer Warrior Attack

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This spring, Burlington Township High School in New Jersey staged a hostage drill to prepare students and faculty in the event of a terrorist attack. The scenario for the drill was an attack by two gunmen, "members of a right-wing fundamentalist group called the 'New Crusaders' who don't believe in separation of church and state." The Christian gunmen in the drill pretended to take hostages and open fire on students because one of their daughters was expelled for praying before class.

"You perform as you practice," said Supt. Chris Manno. "We need to practice under conditions as real as possible in order to evaluate our procedures and plans so that they're as effective as possible." The drill caused a strong emotional reaction among Christian students and community members, who objected to the scenario's portrayal of Christians. Many also quickly pointed out that even the father's grievance was unrealistic, since it is perfectly legal for students to pray at school.

Commentator Michelle Malkin remembered in National Review Online (4-4-07) the terrorism drill in Michigan in 2004 in which students practiced for an attack by Christian homeschoolers. "The exercise will simulate an attack by a fictitious radical group called Wackos Against Schools and Education who believe everyone should be homeschooled," the plan for that drill explained.

Malkin's article, entitled "Whitewashing Jihad in the Schools," accused American educators of refusing to confront the reality of militant Islam ever since 9/11. The National Education Association warned parents and teachers against suggesting "that any group is responsible" for the 9/11 attacks.

Now some educators and administrators "feel free to conjure up homeschooling 'wackos' and Christian 'New Crusaders' to avoid offending the Muslim lobby," writes Malkin.

The Burlington Township School District issued a statement on the drill, regretting "any perceived insensitivity to our religious community," and reaffirming awareness of students' and staff members' right to pray while at school.


 
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