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Acts of discrimination, bullying, harassment, violence, vandalism, or any form of intimidation have no place in an academic environment, no matter their source, target, or reason. We urge all school districts to develop proactive strategies aimed at preventing forms of discrimination and bigotry before they occur. No matter the situation or climate, it is unacceptable to delay action until after intolerable behavior takes place in our places of learning. Preventative measures include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Commit to consistent review and dissemination of bullying, harassment, and other anti-discriminatory policies to all students, educators, staff, and other stakeholders.
  • Initiate training for educators, staff, and administrators to recognize and act on the signs of students being a victim of discrimination, including anxiety, trauma, and sudden changes in academic performance.
  • Ensure that there are clear lines of communication so that discriminatory acts can be reported and that individual or group support services are available.
  • Be aware of behavior that may occur at extracurricular events, on social media, and at other outside locations by communicating with students that discrimination and harassment is unacceptable at any level.
  • Develop, either internally or with the assistance of outside entities, programs aimed at promoting cultural understanding, preventing bullying or harassment, and fostering positive learning environments. 

 Anti-Bias and Anti-Hate Resources

The following anti-bias resources may be of benefit to school districts and the communities they serve:

The Anti-Defamation League's "A World of Difference Institute" provides anti-bias education for students, educators, and community organizations.

The mission of Facing History is to engage students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice, and anti-Semitism in order to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry. Students are more able to make the essential connection between history and the moral choices they confront in their own lives by studying the historical development of the Holocaust and other examples of genocide.

The Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center Teaching Trunks are a free resource to schools around the state.  They provide K-12 educators with a wide array of materials for classroom units on character education, equality, human rights, the Holocaust, and/or genocide.  Each trunk allows educators to create meaningful, age/grade-appropriate lessons employing award-winning fiction, non-fiction, historical reference materials, as well as DVDs and teaching posters. Each trunk has been carefully developed to address state and national learning standards.

The "Make a Difference! The Harvey L. Miller Family Youth Exhibition" provides interactive activities, role play, and lessons that foster leadership skills, self-esteem, empathy, and positive decision-making.  School groups will receive 50 percent off published school group admission fees for the exhibition at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center in Skokie for the remainder of 2017.

Additional resources are available at Prevent School Violence Illinois, a coalition of organizations working to create optimal conditions for effective learning in a school environment free of bias, violence, bullying or intimidation.

"Teaching Tolerance," a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, offers Perspectives for a Diverse America, which is an anti-bias social justice curriculum for educators.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center Midwest Office takes a lesson from the past — the Holocaust — and uses it to teach and defend the safety of Jews worldwide. But it also addresses contemporary issues like bullying and texting and the internet. The center teaches how to confront these issues so a Holocaust doesn't happen again.  In March, the office released the 2017 Digital Terrorism and Hate Report at Digitalhate.net.

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