The range of physical and virtual spaces in a school community provides ample opportunities for students to express themselves and communicate with one another. However, this can manifest in various, troubling ways when hate is present within the school community.
Situations may arise that affect the whole school, such as graffiti or flyering. The toolkit provides practical advice for how to handle increasingly severe hate incidents, with suggested approaches for all members of the school community, including school professionals, administrators, students, parents, and concerned community members. It also gives ideas of what not to do, as well as success stories pulled from real examples we have heard from school professionals across Canada.
Some situations may take place in the classroom, and require an immediate response from educators. This section of the toolkit deals with how educators can navigate those difficult situations, and how to centre the community when they occur.
As disheartening as it is to imagine, a number of communities have encountered hate-promoting ideologies from the adults with whom they entrust their children each day. In fact, there are numerous well-documented examples of this occurring in Canada. This part of the toolkit also provides information on how to deal with hate that comes from staff members and school professionals.
This section of the toolkit includes:
- Examples of each type of hate messaging listed below
- Suggested approaches and practical advice for all members of the school community
- In-class situations
- Real life success stories
- When hate comes from staff members
Anonymous Use of Hate Speech or Symbols
Anonymous spaces can foster the kinds of communication and expression that threaten the integrity of the school community. Bigoted graffiti, unsanctioned flyering, and anonymous online comment platforms challenge schools to maintain free and open spaces without making space for hate.
Invocation of Hate-Motivated Ideology
The best classroom environments support students seeking and engaging with outside sources. Research skills remain among the most vital to postsecondary success, alongside critical thinking and the ability to assess source material. Hate-motivated online personalities, bloggers, public speakers, and other prominent figures actively seek to influence and enlist young people with access to larger school communities. Students need support as they navigate the endless material available to them to ensure that their social, emotional, and cognitive development are not impeded by the dangerous rhetoric of hate-promoting social movements.
Hate-Motivated Iconography and Group Identifiers
Overt expression of hate-motivated ideology or identification as part of an organized hate group reflects a more urgent problem. In these instances, students feel some combination of frustration and alienation, along with the confidence to reveal their stance to the school community. This increased visibility seeks to grab attention, unsettle others, and recruit more members. School communities are not helpless in the face of these efforts.
Evidence of Hate-Motivated Organizing Outside of School
Students who have been recruited by an organized hate-promoting group will soon be pressed to recruit and proselytize in their school communities. Research traces a longstanding pattern of approaches, all of which aim to further increase visibility and membership, as well as destabilize diverse school communities.
Organizing in Support of Hate-Promoting Ideologies at School
In tandem with active promotion of existing hate-promoting groups, students are often pressed to organize within their school communities. Hate groups have a playbook, and pushing students to form white student unions or argue in favour of teaching a white history month remains elemental to their efforts to deceptively empower young recruits. Students are convinced that they are the marginalized group, and as a result, they should demand rights and recognition they have never lacked. To be clear, the pro-white or pro-European group or event the student seeks to establish is a tool of hate-promoting groups.