A 15-year-old Georges Hall student who was arrested during last week’s anti-terror raids was part of a deradicalisation program for the past year, raising questions about its effectiveness.
Police and school authorities worked for the past year to counsel the high school student, who was charged with conspiracy to prepare a terrorist act following co-ordinated raids on five south west Sydney properties last Thursday.
Last Friday, the Parramatta Children’s Court heard the student had allegedly been radicalised in the past year and was accused of helping to plan an attack on an undisclosed AFP building when he was just 14.
A NSW Education Department spokesman would not say whether parents were notified when rehabilitation support for radicalised students started. However, he said they were consulted “where appropriate”, in co-ordination with police.
A spokeswoman for the Federal Attorney-General’s Department said rehabilitation plans, which include counselling, psychological support and peer group activities, were tailored to each individual student.
The initiative follows a $47m plan unveiled by NSW Premier Mike Baird last month which aims to recruit specialist teams, high-profile sports stars and around 200 extra counsellors to stop young people becoming radicalised.
The teenager is due to return to court on February 5.
He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.