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Michigan School District Portrays Homeschoolers as "Terrorists" (September 29, 2004)
From the HSLDA e-Lert service

On Monday, September 20, the Muskegon Chronicle in Michigan reported on a "mock attack" on public school bus to test terrorism response.

According to the paper, the exercise was a simulated "attack by a fictitious radical group called Wackos Against Schools and Education who believe everyone should be homeschooled."

Certainly, disaster preparedness is important----but the "terrorists" are portrayed as homeschoolers who think everyone should have to home school!

We immediately called the Muskegan Chronicle and explained how this is offensive to millions of people who have chosen to exercise their right to home school. Home schoolers never have committed violent acts against the public school or any terrorist acts. It has not been homeschooled children who have walked in public schools shooting everyone and anyone---but rather public school children.

Comparing us to the most dangerous people in the world is a terrible insult and a travesty. The newspaper promised to print our response in a follow-up story.

Calls already have poured in and the Muskegan Intermediate School District and Muskegan County have issued an apology printed below.

BACKGROUND:

Today, these homeschool "terrorists," in a simulated attack, struck a busload of students in the Whitehall area killing more than a half-dozen and sending dozens more to hospitals. Although the attack was not real, it looked real and the students, emergency room personnel and firefighters responded as if it was real.

The exercise was funded by federal homeland security grants awarded to several area school districts and Muskegon County, Michigan.

The Muskegon Area Intermediate School District partnered with the Muskegon County Emergency Services to implement the mock terrorist attack.

According to the Muskegon Chronicle, the exercise was a simulated "attack by a fictitious radical group called Wackos Against Schools and Education who believe everyone should be homeschooled."

Eight or nine deceased students, represented by mannequins, were transported to the county morgue.

Frantic parents ran to the schools and hospital emergency rooms.

APOLOGY ISSUED BY THE COUNTY:

Muskegon Area Intermediate School District (MAISD)

September 21, 2004

The Muskegon Area Intermediate School District (MAISD) shared the disappointment of others when we learned the September 21, 2004, emergency preparedness drill referenced home schoolers as the fictitious group responsible for a mock disaster. We apologize. According to Dan Stout, Chief Deputy, Emergency Services of Muskegon County, this scenario was constructed in his office. A sample scenario was required in order to receive the necessary funding to stage the event. The Muskegon Area Intermediate School District and our local schools did not construct the scenario, but participated with other county agencies, hospitals, and emergency responders in conducting the drill.

This exercise was meant to sharpen the skills and response time of our emergency services personnel, but was unfortunately clouded by the choice of this fictional group. We believe this exercise had everything to do with testing emergency response time and the protection of our children. It had nothing to do with the home school population.

As educators, we believe that the first and most important teacher is the parent, whether in home schools, public schools, or non-public schools. We all work together to ensure a safe and secure environment for our children to live and grow.

We sincerely regret offending home school educators. We believe that all parents are educators and do important work at home with their children.

Sincerely,

Michael H. Bozym,
Superintendent,
Muskegon Area Intermediate School District (MAISD)


In the world today Homeland security is very a important issue. The training of our nation to respond to the many threats we face is of utmost importance. As part of a full scale homeland security exercise on September 21, 2004 in Muskegon, I wrote about a fictional group and fictional scenario for the exercise. This fictional group and scenario made reference to fictional people who are against schools. This fictional group and scenario was not meant to offend any home school students. It has nothing to do with any home school population. Home school students and former students are a very important part of our nation. This scenario will not be used again.

Daniel Stout
Muskegon County Emergency Services
Daniel Stout: (231) 724-6341
stoutda@co.muskegon.mi.us


Please forward all additional questions and comments to the Public Information Coordinator at the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District at ktank@remc4.k12.mi.us or (231) 767-7263.

Kristin Tank
Public Information Coordinator
MAISD
630 Harvey Street
Muskegon, MI 49442-2398
Phone: 231-767-7263
Fax: 231-773-3498
E-mail: ktank@remc4.k12.mi.us
Visit our Web Site: www.muskegonisd.org

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