Proactive Steps, Best Practices, and Common Defences of Hate Propaganda - and How to Counter Them 

Before problems arise, schools can take concrete, proactive steps to make their communities less vulnerable to hate-promoting groups and individuals. Some of these proactive measures include maintaining strong ties to community organizations, libraries, faith-based groups, and service organizations, building resilience and compassion among students by sharing positive stories about community aid during the pandemic, or by lifting up voices from equity-deserving and seeking communities, and taking student reports of harassment seriously. 

Additionally, after a school community experiences a hate incident, there are some approaches that the community can take in order to centre victims, and further build a fence of protection around the school. Examples of best practices following an incident include focusing on the values at stake, keeping students central to the conversation, and trusting their experiences, and always following up on concerns. 

Preparing to counter hate in the school community takes constant vigilance and learning. The toolkit also provides 5 common defences of hate propaganda, and how to counter them. In this section you will learn how to confront ideas and rhetoric we commonly hear from hateful social movements. 

Strong schools foster strong communities. When we recognize and address the signs of hate-motivated organizing promptly within our schools it sets an indelible example, for teachers, students, and the community at large. Everyone has the right to embrace their identity, but hate-promoting ideas threaten the safety of the vulnerable, robbing us all of our humanity and the things that link us together. Students who are attracted to hate-motivated movements are often vulnerable themselves. They may be disillusioned, feel marginalized, or struggle with untreated trauma or mental health issues. We must show them compassion when it seems the hardest to give, because that is what hate-motivated movements cannot offer our students.

We can care for our young people while also starving hate-promoting ideologies of the oxygen they need to grow. We hope this toolkit has offered you options to this end. The threat of hate-motivated organizing is a holistic school community issue. It’s more than an isolated incident, farther reaching than an anonymous flyer, and larger than the anger or alienation of a few students. We must ensure there is no room in our schools for movements that dehumanize people based on race, religion, gender, ethnicity, or nationality.

Our job is to construct a democracy where everyone has value. If we can model that for each other in our schools, it will be easier to translate to other institutions of public life. By working with all stakeholders to handle these situations thoughtfully and incrementally, we can push back hate-motivated movements and groups in all facets of our community

This section of the toolkit includes: 

  • Proactive steps before the school experiences a hate incident
  • Best practices for dealing with a hate incident
  • Five common defences of hate propaganda, and how to counter them 


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Download the full Confronting and Preventing Hate in Canadian Schools Toolkit.

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