School Safety Post Election: Dealing with Hate Speech and Bullying
The last few weeks have been very difficult for the United States as a nation. In the aftermath of the election it is easy for some to feel alienated no matter who you voted (or did not vote) for. It is important to remember that this same effect can easily affect our children and the school environment, particularly when it comes to hate speech. It is critical now more than ever that we maintain our schools as a safe haven for all students and staff. There is and has always been an interdependence between safety, school climate and academic achievement. It is very difficult to excel in any one of these areas without the others.[Related: Ask Safe Havens: How safety affects school climate and academic achievement https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgWdkOYlJCE ]
Various organizations are now reporting skyrocketing numbers of incidents of harassment, hate speech and hate-based vandalism across the country. As of this writing there have been hundreds of reported incidents to the Southern Poverty Law Center and The Anti-Defamation League. During these times we should remember the following fundamentals:
- Review your policies on bullying, harassment and hate speech, and update as needed.
- Be prepared to respond to reported incidents seriously by following appropriate procedures
- Make students aware of proper avenues for dealing with harassment, hate speech and bullying.
- Remember your security basics: access control, visitor management and supervision. Many incidents affecting schools, internal or external, can be prevented or mitigated through these basic measures.
Look for more detailed discussion on ways to address these concerns in our upcoming issue of School Safety Monthly.
Some additional resources for handling hate speech:
The Anti-Defamation League has an incident reporting form as well as resources for handling incidents of hate speech and harassment: http://adl.org/
The Ad Council has a series of videos that could be used to engage in positive discussion about these topics: