Hate Hurts
Responding to Hate-Motivated Behavior in Schools
Lesson Plans
Teaching Tips
  Responding to Hate-Motivated Behavior in Schools (part 1)
  Responding to Hate-Motivated Behavior in Schools (part 2)
  Holiday Activities Guidelines
  What is Anti-Bias Education?
  Creating a Positive Environment In which to Raise Diversity Issues

Related Links

What to Tell Your Child about Prejudice?
Prejudice: 101 Ways You Can Beat It!
The 'December Dilemma'

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  Plan Ahead

  1. Work with your school administration to establish a plan for responding promptly to hate incidents and hate crimes.
  2. Educate school staff on how to recognize hate-motivated incidents and hate crimes.
  3. Establish procedures for reporting hate-motivated incidents/crimes.
  4. Establish school policies which clearly indicate that hate-motivated behavior will not be tolerated.

  Response Strategies

  1. Respond promptly to incidents.
  2. Conduct a complete investigation of the incident, including the questioning of victim(s), witness/es and perpetrators. Report hate-motivated crimes to law enforcement. If there is physical damage - defacing, spray-pointing, etc. - take photographs. As soon as law enforcement personnel have viewed the damage and photographs have been token, have the damage repaired. If hate literature has been distributed, collect the literature for evidence.
  3. Train school counselors to assist hate-motivated crime victims and/or provide referral sources to community agencies. Reassure the victim and or her family that the incident will be treated seriously.
  4. Determine proper disciplinary action according to school protocols.
  5. If your district has a reporting policy, submit a hate-motivated crime/incident report to the appropriate district offices.
  6. Determine whether or not additional follow-up activities are necessary, e.g., staff and student awareness activities, responses to the media, etc.
  Factors in Identifying Acts as Bias   Related
The motivation behind the act determines whether an incident is bias related. Although no one factor is conclusive, the following criteria, applied singly or in combination, should be used to determine if probable cause exists to believe that an incident was motivated entirely or in port by animosity toward the victim because of his or her race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity or national origin.
  1. Were words, symbols or acts which are or may be offensive to an identifiable group used by the perpetrator, or are they present as evidence? For example, is there a burning cross or a pointed swastika, or were derogatory words or slurs or graffiti directed at a particular racial, religious, ethnic or other group?
  2. Are the victim and the suspected perpetrator members of different racial, religious or ethnic groups?
  3. Has the victim or the victim's group been subjected to post incidents of a similar nature? Has there been tension or hostility between the victim's group and another particular racial, religious or ethnic group?
  4. Is the victim the only minority group member in the neighborhood or one of just a few such persons?
  5. Did the victim recently move into the area? Is the victim acquainted with neighbors and/or local community groups? Has there been evidence of hostility toward the victim by neighbors?
  6. When multiple incidents occur at the same time, are all victims of the some race, ethnicity, religion, national origin or sexual orientation?
  7. Does a meaningful portion of the community perceive and respond to the situation as a bias related incident?
  8. Does the incident appear to be timed to coincide with a specific holiday or date of significance (e.g., Martin Luther King Day, Rosh Hashanah, Ramadan)?
  9. Has the victim been involved in recent public activity that would possibly make him or her a target? For example, has the victim been associated with any prominent recent or past activities relating to his or her race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation (e.g., NAACP, gay rights rally, demonstrations by or against the Ku Klux Klan)?
  10. Has there been prior/recent news coverage of events of a similar nature?
  11. What were the manner and means of attack (e.g., color of point, symbols or signs utilized, unusual spelling of the words used)? Is the modus operandi similar to other documented incidents?
  12. Is there an ongoing neighborhood problem that may have initiated or contributed to the act (i.e., could the act be retribution for some conflict between neighbors or with area juveniles)?
  13. Does the perpetrator responsible have a true understanding of the impact of the crime/incident on the victim or other group members? Are the perpetrators juveniles?
  14. Does the crime/incident indicate possible involvement by an organized hate group (e.g., Ku Klux Klan, American Nazi Party)? For example: a. Is the literature printed or handwritten? Does it contain an identifiable hate group symbol or insignia or hate group address? b. Is there any documented or suspected organized hate group activity in the area?

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1999 Anti-Defamation League