Friday, May 1, 2009
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been forced to remove sections of a children’s coloring book from its website after concerned parents made complaints regarding the use of crude images of the 9/11 attacks.
The disaster preparedness activity book, titled ‘A Scary Thing Happened,’ features various disasters, such as hurricanes and floods, and includes an illustration on it’s cover showing what is clearly one of the World Trade Center towers on fire with a plane flying toward the second tower.
The image is repeated within the book three times on a single page, which children are encouraged to color in.
The caption above reads, “You might hear about it again and again on the T.V. or radio or read about it in the newspaper.”
Critics have charged that parents should make the decision whether or not and exactly how to educate their children about 9/11 and that children should not be exposed to government-issued material for such purposes.
The coloring book was created in 2003 for the Freeborn County Crisis Response Team in Minnesota.
Although the images look like they have been drawn by a child, they were actually illustrated by Red Cross volunteer and 68-year-old grandmother of 10, Marlys Jentoft. Jentoft told The Smoking Gun website that she was unaware of the recent criticism of the coloring book, but would redo the drawings if asked.
In a statement, FEMA spokesman John Shea said:
“We removed the content from our website after reviewing www.FEMA.gov for appropriate material. FEMA for kids assists children in understanding disasters and we will continue to post appropriate material that supports its mission.”
FEMA spokesman Clark Stevens added, “The coloring book, which was put online in 2003, was removed last week, and FEMA is currently reviewing all Web content designed and posted by the previous administration.”
Watch a local Fox News report on the coloring book below:
The activity book can be viewed in full at this link (PDF).
The FEMA website for kids has come under continued criticism for encouraging parents and teachers to introduce their children to material related to the federal government’s emergency management procedures and the department of homeland security.
A case in point is FEMA’s definition of terrorism on it’s website for kids, which differs slightly from everybody else’s:
“Terrorism is the use of threat or violence to scare governments into changing their policies.”
Other definitions of terrorism offered by FEMA to children are also eyebrow raising:
“Terrorists are criminals and when they are caught they are put on trial.”
“Acts of terrorism include: threats of violence…”
Other sections of the site include games and cartoons relating to Citizen Corps programs for kids, while those who sign up to become “Disaster Action Kids” get to be part of a special Email group, that receives “exciting news and information” directly from FEMA.