Iraq's Classroom Failures

Sunnin high-schoolers in Baghdad had their test scores thrown out by Shiite government.
The last thing you'd expect to face going to school every day in the United States is a tank right outside the entrance.

And you certainly wouldn't expect the government to cancel your test results because of your religion.

That's what Sunni high school students, parents and teachers say happened to them when the Shiite-run Ministry of Education cancelled the results of year-end exams at four Sunni testing sites in Baghdad, reports CBS News chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan. No Shiite districts in the capital had their results thrown out.

It all started in the Sunni neighborhood of Ameriyah, adds Logan. U.S. troops and Sunni insurgents formed an alliance to drive the terrorists out. But the terrorists struck back, kidnapping two young brothers from school in the middle of an exam.

When Lt. Schuyler Williamson and his soldiers found the boys, one had been beheaded, supposedly for helping the United States.

"The face was beaten bloody," said Lt. Williamson. "It was obvious that the guy was tortured before his head was cut off."

Still traumatized, the students soon faced another shock: they say the government used the murder as an excuse to cancel their test results. Then it turned to accusations of cheating.

One boy and his mother say he missed last year's exams because he was kidnapped by Shiite militiamen for being Sunni.

"I feel very frustrated," said the boy. "Like all the other students, we just want our scores released."

The official in charge told CBS News he stands by the allegations of cheating.

But it's a troubling sign that this Sunni community believes their government wants to ensure the next generation of doctors and engineers in Iraq will all be Shiites.

  • Lara Logan

    Lara Logan's bold, award-winning reporting from war zones has earned her a prominent spot among the world's best foreign correspondents. Logan began contributing to 60 Minutes in 2005.