My latest column highlights a mock terrorism drill in a Michigan public school district that substitutes homeschoolers for Islamic terrorists. Here’s an excerpt:

“The exercise will simulate an attack by a fictitious radical group called Wackos Against Schools and Education who believe everyone should be homeschooled. Under the scenario, a bomb is placed on the bus and is detonated while the bus is traveling on Durham, causing the bus to land on its side and fill with smoke.”This is not a joke. A taxpayer-funded drill is using public school students to enforce anti-homeschooling bigotry under the guise of preparing for terrorism. Terrorism by whom? By Islamic jihadists who hijack planes and incinerate kids headed to Disneyworld. Islamic terrorists who take hundreds of children hostage in Beslan, force them to drink their own urine and shoot babies in the back. Islamic terrorists who groom toddlers as suicide bombers.Our enemies are Islamic extremist murderers. Except if you happen to attend the Muskegon County, Mich., schools, where the menacing faces of terrorism belong to parents who make untold sacrifices to give their children the best education they know how by schooling them in the loving environment of their own homes….

I am not making this up.

Update: The Happy Homeschooler is on the case and gets a non-apology apology from a local official.

Update II: Homeschoolers hear from the school district, which claims “it was not aware of the scenario.” Hard to believe given, as the Chronicle reported, that “[l]ocal school district transportation directors instigated the exercise because they wanted to test their abilities to respond to emergencies.” It’s a crafty little piece of blame avoidance, but at least the school district’s response conceded this:

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

Update III
: Here are the full statements of two officials regarding the drill.

From: Daniel Stout: (231) 724-6341stoutda@co.muskegon.mi.usIn 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 StoutMuskegon County Emergency Services

Statement from the MAISD Superintendent Michael H. Bozym, Ph.D.September 21, 2004Contact: Kristin Tank, Public Information Coordinator, MAISD, (231) 767-7263The 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. The MAISD andlocal districts were not aware of the scenario, and it was not shared with students or parents who took part in the exercise.According to Dan Stout, Chief Deputy, Emergency Services of Muskegon County, this scenario was constructed in his office. A sample scenario as 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.# # #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.

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