Light in the Darkness in the Classroom | Not in Our Town

Light in the Darkness in the Classroom

Scene from Light In the Darknes

In Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness, we witness how students can become upstanders, even in the wake of violent hate crimes. The 60-minute documentary premiered on PBS in 2011, but is now available for purchase as a 27-minute classroom version.

This film is extremely pertinent to the educational community for several reasons. In addition to the importance of learning about how the community came together to respond to hate, it brings up serious questions for educators, for example: 

  • How did these young people routinely participate in what they called "beaner-hopping" ("beaner" is a racial slur and "beaner-hopping" refers to beating up Latino immigrants) without their teachers and parents noticing?
  • Why did other students who knew what was going on never speak up?
  • What was the impact of the media's hateful rhetoric on the attitudes of youth in the schools?

Educators across the U.S. have begun to use the film as a springboard for addressing issues of immigration, bullying, and teaching students to be upstanders (speak up and take action).

Lakewood High Discusses Light in the Darkness

After showing the Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness trailer in his classroom outside of Cleveland, OH, Lakewood High School teacher Joe Lobozzo led a thought-provoking class discussion.

The film focuses on Patchogue, N.Y. following the hate crime killing of local immigrant Marcelo Lucero in 2008. Seven teenagers from Patchogue-Medford High School were arrested for the attack.

While students are headed for summer vacation, it is important to remember that bullying and discrimination don't end when the semester is over. Classroom discussions based on the film, such as the one that took place at Lakewood High School, are a great tool in starting the conversation about hate and intolerance among students. 

To find out how to obtain the film and other resources, click here.

Our partners at Facing History and Ourselves have also created an Educator Viewing Guide for the film.

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