Ross Greer: Selling mass slaughter as a game has no place in Scotland’s classrooms
REVELATIONS OVER A role-play game where school children are encouraged to take the part of war time arms dealers has been condemned in the Scottish Parliament.
Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer said the lesson plan – encouraging pupils to ‘pitch’ the sale of weapons during the bloodbath of the first world war – was “absolutely inappropriate” and required intervention to remove it from schools.
A previous politically controversial case, where coursework described Palestinians as “terrorists”, led to the removal of the lesson plan from the curriculum in North Lanarkshire.
However, South Lanarkshire council – where a teacher complained about the course to investigative group The Ferret – and Tes, an educational website which hosts the lesson plan, have stood by its contents.
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After raising the case to Education Secretary John Swinney, West of Scotland MSP, Ross Greer said: “It is not for politicians to approve or reject every lesson plan or teaching resource but some are just so clearly unacceptable, so grossly insensitive and so absolutely inappropriate that they should be withdrawn from classrooms. There is clear precedent for this. I cannot understand the Scottish Government hedging its bets on whether it’s ok to ask 12 year olds what problem a flamethrower or bayonet solve.
“Asking children for a sales pitch and ‘battle plan’ on how they’d use weapons is appalling and it’s absolutely outrageous that children across the country are being presented with mass slaughter not just as a game but as good business. WWI was one of the most horrific conflicts in all of human history and its worst aspects are being normalised in our schools.
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“Everyone respects teacher autonomy, but I don’t see how the Scottish Government can sit on the fence on this. There was nothing remotely normal about the chemical weapons used by all sides, which burned, blinded and suffocated tens of thousands of conscripted young soldiers, or the machine guns which slaughtered many, many more as they were forced into suicidal charges towards enemy trenches. Surely the Scottish Government agrees.”
Swinney, replying to questions, said: “It is important that teachers exercise professional judgment on the appropriateness of materials that are used in the classroom—we rely on teachers to consider that.”
Just last month peace campaigners held a rally in Edinburgh to mark the resistance to the conflict – which led to the deaths of over 17 million people and was only ended by the mutiny of socialist German sailors refusing to perpetuate the bloodbath.
Picture courtesy of Oxfam International
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