Twelve-year-old pupils at the Bridlington High School were given an assignment on the school’s online homework app on Friday in which they were asked: “Imagine that you are a parent of one of the Manchester bombing victims. Write a response to the point of view that: ‘All terrorists should be forgiven’.”
The exercise was set following an in-class discussion of the Manchester Arena attack in which Salman Ramadam Abedi detonated an explosive device during an Ariana Grande concert on May 22, 2017 which killed 22 concert-goers, including children.
“There are children at the school who attended the concert and were there when the attack happened. There is even a cousin of one of the victims at the school,” one mother told Hull Live.
“I think this assignment is absolutely disgusting for all sorts of different reasons,” said Tracey Turner, whose granddaughter studies at the school.
Headteacher Kate Parker-Randall subsequently apologized, but insisted that the exercise was intended to pose a difficult moral question to the children and allow them to decide whether “hate or forgiveness are the best response to such terrible crimes.” The students had discussed an article about a mother of one of the victims who had forgiven the bomber for killing her son.
“However, having reflected on the matter we would in hindsight have posed the homework question in a different way,” Parker-Randall later admitted.
Needless to say, reaction online was far from forgiving, with some even calling for the teacher to be sacked.
The news comes just two months after GCSE students studying English at Cheney School in Oxfordshire were asked to pen a mock suicide note. The children were assigned the creative writing task while studying ‘An Inspector Calls’ by J.B. Priestley, a 1945 play which deals with the aftermath of character Eva Smith’s suicide.
“I genuinely feel it could be done well to raise awareness of teen mental health and suicide, but this was a massive fail,” one concerned mother said at the time.
We learn something every day, and lots of times it’s that what we learned the day before was wrong.