From vandalism to bullying to anti-Semitism, hate-charged incidents in America’s schools have become more prevalent in recent years. In New England alone, reports of anti-Semitic incidents are up by more than 30 percent compared to this time last year.
There have been several accounts on the news of youth being hurt or resorting to suicide as a result of bullying and other hate-based behaviors. Consequently, parents have begun to demand that education officials take a more proactive role and implement policies and programs that make it clear that schools will not tolerate this type of behavior.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is assisting in this effort by providing partner schools with training, tools, and a new, customized, anti-hate initiative called “No Place for Hate.” Keep reading to learn more about this program.
What Is No Place for Hate?
The ADL believes that no person is born hating another person. Because this kind of behavior is learned, the ADL maintains that educational strategies, such as No Place for Hate, can help people unlearn it as well.
No Place for Hate is a self-directed K-12 school climate program that provides school officials with a systematic way to combat bullying, bias, and hatred, thereby creating a safe space for all students. The initiative, which follows many of the National School Climate Center’s recommendations for establishing a positive school climate, includes a needs assessment, instructions for forming a No Place for Hate committee, optional anti-bullying training, a resolution of respect that students sign, and lesson plans that provide opportunities for students to engage with themes of bias and inclusion. All of the curriculum components are age-appropriate, so students of all grade levels can appreciate the importance of the material being taught and learn strategies that they can apply in real life.
Designed to be interactive and aligned with Common Core standards, the No Place for Hate lesson plans introduce children to different perspectives, build critical thinking skills, address emerging biases, and encourage students to take action when they encounter an injustice. The curriculum includes Current Events Classroom lessons that help teachers discuss events in the news and other topics of interest. Also included are Curriculum Connections, which are grade-spanning units that help students think critically about what is going on around them.
No Place for Hate’s curriculum also includes leadership tools that are meant to help create and implement school- or district-wide anti-bullying or anti-hate activities for students. The purpose of these activities is to educate students on biases and how they can be harmful to fellow students and to encourage participation, rather than just sitting and listening to someone speak. Each school that completes the No Place for Hate curriculum components receives a No Place for Hate banner that it can display.
Participating Schools Are Seeing Positive Results.
Since its launch a little over one year ago, the No Place for Hate program has seen amazing results. Participating schools have reported very positive feedback from students and parents alike, and the school committees initially formed under the program continue to meet regularly. These committee members actively plan anti-hate and anti-bullying activities in order to keep students engaged with the curriculum. One of these activities is a positive message day in which students place positive messages with a compassionate theme on each student’s locker.
ADL’s goal for the No Place for Hate curriculum is to ensure that lasting changes occur in the climate of participating schools, and this appears to be happening. Many schools have noted an increased focus on diversity and inclusion and regularly hold assemblies and other events to highlight their accomplishments with the help of ADL’s curriculum. In fact, one school recently reported a 10 percent increase in the number of young people who said they stepped up to help someone who was being bullied.
The majority of educators believe anti-hate initiatives that focus on student participation and education about how to recognize hate-inducing behavior and speech are critical to overcoming these troubling issues. With threats like cyberstalking, cyberbullying, bigotry, and stereotyping on the rise, programs like No Place for Hate are needed now more than ever.
Since 1913, the Anti-Defamation League has been demonstrated a commitment to making lasting change and the organization continues to develop ways to teach equality concepts to everyone. No Place for Hate is more than just a curriculum teaching static concepts, it is an initiative that promotes the idea of strength through unity and denounces hate that only serves to divide people.