The kits feature information on understanding the signs of those at risk of being radicalised, what radicalisation actually is, the part the internet plays in the process and who to contact should they believe a student may be at risk.
In addition, education agencies will review the range of initiatives currently available and what more needs to be done to offer assistance to youths at risk of being brainwashed by terror groups. For this purpose, a number of education department officials will be trained to provide support to schools.
Keenan said the government needed to be proactive to stop at-risk school kids from being radicalised, saying “we cannot afford to wait until people have already radicalised and turned to violence”.
“We must reduce the risk of violent extremism by intervening early,” he added.
Concerns about school-aged children being groomed by Islamic State operatives were raised at the Federal Education Council in May. “The increasing proliferation and sophistication of extremist propaganda targeting Australian youth, coupled with active recruitment by violent extremist groups, is resulting in the radicalisation of increasingly young Australians including school-aged individuals,’’ a letter sent to state education ministers stated.
Melbourne teenager ‘Jihadi Jake’ Bilardi (18) died in March as a suicide bomber in the Iraqi city of Ramadi. According to Australian Federal Police commissioner Andrew Colvin, up to 10 school-aged children have now been placed in government deradicalisation programs.
Counter-terrorism minister Michael Keenan told state education ministers during a phone conference late last week that hard copies of the kits, which will also be made available online, would be distributed to secondary schools.