Recruitment and Radicalization of School-aged Youth by International Terrorist Groups
Terrorists are adaptive adversaries who use a variety of tools and tactics to reach potential recruits and supporters. Unfortunately, there is increasing evidence that terrorist organizations are drawing schoolaged youth into their ranks all around the world.
The United States Department of Education, Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (OSDFS) sponsored this study to gain insight into how school-aged youth are recruited, radicalized, and utilized by various international terrorist groups. The study is intended to analyze the role, if any, played by schools, educators, or others within the school setting (either directly or indirectly) to induce students toward violence or participation in terrorist groups through actions that promote, advocate, or support such groups.
Additionally, OSDFS wanted to know what initiatives have been implemented internationally to address the emerging threat of youth recruitment and radicalization. Consequently, the study also sought to determine what role, if any, is currently being played by schools, educators, or others within the school setting to advance measures or take actions that denounce violence or terrorist groups and/or propose other alternatives.
An examination of the context(s) in which recruitment occurs, the range of tactics used by terrorist groups worldwide, the inducements offered, and the ways in which these issues are being addressed internationally will lead to a more comprehensive understanding of the issues as well as help the Department of Education identify practical implications. It will also allow the Department to review whether modifications to current policies and practices being used by U.S. schools are indicated.