Call on Gov. Herbert to fight hate in our schools

A recent report on hate in schools across the nation documents a disturbing number of incidents involving identity-based slurs and symbols, bigotry, and the harassment of children in school. Most of those sentiments were racist, antisemitic, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ. Data shows hate crimes are increasing across America, and a white nationalist movement is infiltrating the mainstream. The report shows:
  • More than two-thirds of the 2,776 educators who responded to the questionnaire witnessed a hate or bias incident in their school during the fall of 2018.
  • Fewer than 5 percent of the incidents witnessed by educators were reported in the news media.
  • Racism appears to be the motivation behind most hate and bias incidents in school, accounting for 63 percent of incidents reported in the news and 33 percent of incidents reported by teachers.
  • Of the incidents reported by educators, those involving racism and antisemitism were the most likely to be reported in the news media; anti-Latinx and anti-LGBTQ incidents were the least likely.
  • Most of the hate and bias incidents witnessed by educators were not addressed by school leaders. No one was disciplined in 57 percent of them. Nine times out of 10, administrators failed to denounce the bias or reaffirm school values.
A recent Hinckley poll showed that 64% of Utahns supported the hate crimes law before it passed in the Utah legislature this year. Utahns don’t want to ignore these problems. YOU can take action to help address them.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

  • Call on Governor Herbert to take action to protect our kids and fight hate in our schools.

Gov. Gary Herbert (801) 538-1000 or leave an online comment here

Ask the Governor to:

1. Investigate hate and bias in our schools. Surveys have been conducted by national organizations, but with limited sampling and through self-selection. We need an accurate picture of the scope of the problem to combat it.

2. Make healthy, inclusive and equitable school climate a priority. Many schools are already understaffed and underfunded. Once we understand the scope of the problem, we must invest in the kinds of supports — counselors, school psychologists, social workers — and programs that foster pro-social behaviors.

3. Evaluate schools on the quality of their learning environments. Formal state or district accountability systems should look beyond academic gains to include improvement in school climate, with emphasis on social, emotional and cognitive development.

4. Support curriculum that explicitly targets bias. Students need to learn what bias is, how bias can grow into hatred, how hatred has affected societies in the past and how they can counter hate and bias.

Please use your own words and tell any personal stories or share fact-based information to make the greatest impact!

[Recommendations by SPLC]

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