This teaching idea contains strategies and activities for supporting your students in the aftermath of a mass shooting, terrorist attack, or other violent event.
Use this Teaching Idea to inform students about recent episodes of racism and antisemitism in schools across the US, probe their causes and impact, and consider positive ways that communities can respond to hate.
George Washington would have been 284 years old today. Facing History’s recent book, Washington’s Rebuke to Bigotry, on his 1790 letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, looks at the United States’ first president’s views on religious freedom, and is a powerful resource for exploring these essential civic lessons within U.S. history.
Last week, the United States media reported on an event that took place at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).
A month ago, UCLA student Rachel Beyda put herself forward as a candidate for a student judicial board position. In the interview process, a student board member asked her, "Given that you are a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community, how do you see yourself being able to maintain an unbiased view?"
Members of the board then debated her candidacy and her ability to be unbiased.
This past fortnight has seen an alarming number of antisemitic and racist incidents in the news: in Germany, two people were killed and many more terrorised in a mass shooting attempt that targeted a synagogue; in Bulgaria, football fans taunted players with racist chants and Nazi salutes; in Hertfordshire, a teacher allegedly “joked” about sending primary school pupils who failed to complete their work “to the gas chamber”(and then told them not to tell anyone); and in politics, another Labour politician resigned from the party citing the rise of antisemitism as the reason for her departure.
What does Facing History look like in action? Look into Calee Prindle’s classroom and you’ll see it come to life. Calee is an English Language Arts teacher and an advisor at the Facing History School (FHS) in New York City. FHS is a founding member of The Facing History Innovative Schools Network – a connected group of more than 80 schools that embrace Facing History's core themes as essential to their mission.
The recent row over Bill Maher and Ben Affleck's heated discussion of Islam on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher strikes me as an opportunity for a civic lesson–one rooted not in debating who is right or wrong, or who is bigoted or not, but one, that, in true Facing History and Ourselves fashion, is rooted in history. At Facing History, we have learned that history often provides a needed distance from which we can illuminate the present and inform more productive civic dialogue.