Schools are not immune from hate speech, bias incidents, and extremism, but resources are available in the District of Columbia and the National Capital Region to help educators raise awareness and prevent and respond to these types of incidents. Federal Bureau of Investigation hate crime data indicate that hate crime incidents rose more than 17 percent nationally in 2017 from the year before, with a 62 percent increase in the District, while the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reports a 182 percent increase in white supremacist extremist propaganda campaigns nationwide in 2018.
On March 6, 2019, school officials at the Sidwell Friends School, an elite private school in Northwest DC, cut short an assembly featuring a student-led outreach program focused on locally-based refugee children after students displayed racist usernames and swastikas during an interactive portion of the assembly.
In October 2018, swastika stickers were discovered inside the girls’ bathroom at the School Without Walls, a high school located in Northwest DC; a similar incident occurred previously when a swastika was drawn on the wall of the boys’ bathroom, according to open sources.
Various government and non-governmental organizations provide teaching resources to help educators raise awareness and counter the spread of hate, including the ADL, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the Western States Center, and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. The links to these resources can be found below:
Teaching Tolerance – an SPLC Project
No Place for Hate® – an ADL Education Program
ADL Education Resources– Lesson Plans, Anti-Bias Tools & Strategies
Confronting White Nationalism in Schools Toolkit – Western States Center
Resource for Educators – United States Holocaust Memorial Museum