New York City Department of Education will launch a curriculum around hate crimes next year in response to a recent string of anti-Semitic attacks across the city. In the interim, the school system will make resources available to help educators teach about hate crimes through the lens of historical and current events, according to a press release.
The “hate crime awareness programming” will be implemented to address anti-Semitism at middle and high schools in three Brooklyn neighborhoods with a large population of ultra-Orthodox Jews. Schools will focus on deterring discrimination and promoting religious tolerance.
This announcement comes after assailants in recent assaults were found to be teenagers, and after more than three dozen lawmakers sent New City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza a letter urging rollout of a curriculum that addresses genocides, including the Holocaust.
Hate crime violence reached a 16-year high in 2018, with a sharp increase in violence against Latinos, according to The New York Times. The data also shows that more young people direct hate crime attacks at people.
Schools have seen a surge in hate speech, as well. By the end of the 2016-17 school year, 28% of teachers witnessed at least one student making a derogatory or racist remark.
Some educators fight this trend by implementing lessons teaching students to understand different cultures. Watching movies or reading books from different cultures, as well as interacting with others, shows students perspectives from cultures outside their own.
For schools dealing with hate incidents, having a protocol for a swift response helps build a culture of tolerance. Incidents should be addressed immediately in order to follow the state laws against hate crimes. If schools react swiftly to charges, the legal liability lessens as well.
The Anti-Defamation League’s No Place For Hate initiative provides member schools resources, professional development workshops and training. The organization also offers grants to fund these anti-hate programs. Also, hiring staff familiar with the community helps detect problems before they begin.