Teaching tolerance amid hateful acts


Teaching tolerance amid hateful acts

October 12, 2016

As the surrounding community reels from the recent desecration of the Temple Beth Shalom Cemetery gates in Florida, the Warwick Valley Central School District is viewing the hateful act as a teachable moment for students.

District administrators have devoted considerable time since this incident occurred, devising strategies and developing talking points to address anti-Semitism and other acts of hatred with students to reinforce themes of the existing K-12 character education program. Families are also encouraged to speak about tolerance with their children at home.

The District’s approach to addressing hatred and bigotry in school includes:

  • School personnel holding classroom discussions about anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry
  • Arrangements for school assemblies that address intolerance and how to prevent it
  • Continuing to hone a K-12 curriculum that teaches tolerance and respect

“While the instinct might be to assume these horrific acts were conducted by students, at this point there is no indication students were involved,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Leach. “Regardless, the District intends to use this disgraceful incident as a teachable moment. In our middle school and high school classrooms, discussions will take place reinforcing themes of tolerance and respect, and helping students understand the damage done and pain inflicted by bias and bigotry.”

Students regularly hear the message that disrespect and intimidation have no place in school, and teachers encourage inclusion and promote tolerance. Incidents such as these provide additional opportunities to reinforce school expectations of acceptance and respect for all.

Students and parents who wish to show support for our Jewish community may attend a Solidarity Rally this Sun., Oct. 16, at 11:30 a.m. at the cemetery on Spanktown Road in Florida. The rally was announced in a statement by Temple Beth Shalom in conjunction with the Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County:

“We encourage the entire Orange County population to stand with us in solidarity against this act of anti-Semitic hatred and violence by gathering this Sunday, October 16th at the cemetery, which is at the intersection of Spanktown Road and Union Corners Road in Florida at 11:30 a.m. This will be a morning of prayer and solidarity continuing at Temple Beth Shalom, 13 Roosevelt Avenue, Florida, afterwards.”


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