Page last updated at 05:37 GMT, Thursday, 4 March 2010

Australia 'killing field' schools spark protests

playground fight
Australia has been trying to combat violence in schools

Australians have expressed outrage that a company which uses schools for weekend war games has promoted them as being "perfect killing fields".

One parents' association described the promotions, in the state of Queensland, as totally inappropriate.

An opposition education spokesman said such activities on school property sent the wrong message when the authorities were trying to stop school violence.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd questioned why schools allowed such activities.

A spokeswoman for the Queensland Education authority said school principals decided on the hiring facilities for community use in consultation with local associations.

'Most modern guns'

The BBC's Nick Bryant reports that the company Urban Assault runs outdoor war games using laser guns, and advertises on its website four schools in Queensland as ideal battlefields.

One school on the Gold Coast, it says, offers the "perfect urban assault battlefield".

Long range weapons rule, it goes on, and it's "perfect for setting up killing fields with our Gattling guns".

The website shows pictures of adults and children dressed in camouflage firing laser weapons in the schools, and the company says it has the "most modern realistic guns available in Australia".

The head of a Queensland parents association said the photos and advertisement were totally inappropriate and that she was "absolutely horrified".

The state education department has asked the company to remove references to schools from its promotional material.

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