Remember when life was so simple that the worst that could be expected of “politically savvy” teens was refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance at school?
Connecticut station WTNH notes that a 15 year-old student at Ansonia High School in the town of the same name made pro-ISIS statements during the morning recitation of the Pledge.
School officials alerted the police — “out of an abundance of caution,” as they later explained in a statement. Police in turn contacted the Department of Homeland Security, which is now investigating.
Is this simply a case of a wise-ass kid sounding off? Probably. But is it possible this boy is sympathetic to the terror group? Absolutely. Impressionable teenagers figure prominently in the group’s recruitment efforts. As CNN observed last February:
Children and young people feature in the terrorist group’s propaganda, including a recent video showing boys in camouflage and ISIS bandanas learning hand-to-hand combat. The militants call them their “Cubs of the Caliphate.”
“There’s no question what we’re combating with ISIL’s propaganda machine is something we have not seen before,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told CNN. “It’s something we need to do a lot more work on. We are seeing 90,000, I think, tweets a day that we’re combating.”
The militants have repeatedly promoted videos using high-level production techniques to celebrate their brutality. A short mash-up clip in September played like a trailer for an action movie, with slow-motion explosions and flames engulfing American troops.
A New Haven civil rights attorney named John Williams shared his view that this is all much ado about nothing and calls the reaction by authorities a clear violation of the student’s First Amendment rights:
It’s pure speech. Not like the proverbial shouting fire in a crowded theater. No harm to anybody, except to himself, because he looks silly.
The article notes that the 15 year-old student is now at an “alternative school,” whatever that means.