Preventative Strategies | Page 6 | Not in Our Town

Preventative Strategies

An excerpt of the critically acclaimed PBS documentary that tells the uplifting story of how the residents of Billings, Montana, joined together when their neighbors were threatened by white supremacists. Townspeople of all races and religions swiftly moved into action. Religious and community leaders, labor union volunteers, law enforcement, the local newspapers and concerned individuals stood united and spoke loudly for a hate-free community, proclaiming in no uncertain terms "Not In Our Town!" (5:32)
While the students profiled in this video had a catalyst prompting them to hold a community anti-hate rally, this is not necessary to engage students or the larger community in conversations and learning about diversity and respect.   In fact, establishing these principals as priorities in your school -- to be discussed and affirmed not only in times of crisis -- can be very powerful in preventing incidents from occurring or if they do, to know there are established channels of support and response.    This lesson is part of the Not In Our School Video Action Kit, a comprehensive toolkit featuring films, lessons, and resources designed to motivate students to speak out against bullying, and create new ways to make their schools safe for everyone.
As a result of the murder of Marcelo Lucero, there were many positive efforts in the community to embrace diversity and build respect for all. One of these was the creation of public art to reflect feelings and attitudes about the murder and to create a positive and hopeful message for the future. The use of art can be a wonderful way for students to express ideas about diversity, respect and social justice concerns. The following guideline provides instruction on how to lead such a process with students. Age-level: middle and high school students Note: This activity process will need to take place over several class periods or student-group meetings. If not an art teacher, consider joining with one to assist and support this process.  
If interested in modeling this dialogue in your own classroom, please use the following guidelines to assist in ensuring a positive and productive discussion. This lesson is part of the Not In Our School Video Action Kit, a comprehensive toolkit featuring films, lessons, and resources designed to motivate students to speak out against bullying, and create new ways to make their schools safe for everyone. Age-level: middle and high school students  
In this video, students use role-playing scenarios to depict experiences with prejudice or name-calling and practice effective interventions to combat or stop the bullying or harassment. This process can be an effective tool to use with students in your own classroom and school. Please use the guidelines below and review the “Note of Caution” to ensure a positive and productive experience. This lesson is part of the Not In Our School Video Action Kit, a comprehensive toolkit featuring films, lessons, and resources designed to motivate students to speak out against bullying, and create new ways to make their schools safe for everyone.   Age-level:                   middle and high school students
When English teacher Jan Speller hears the expression "that's so gay,"  she tells her students at El Camino High School in South San Francisco "and gay is a good thing" to encourage them to think about the meaning of the saying. (:42)
  In a lively class discussion, Gunn High School students in Roni Habib's Facing History and Ourselves class challenge the saying "That's so gay." This is a phrase that many students hear constantly and watching this film can inspire the viewers to speak up next time they hear it. Discussion Questions: The teacher in the video opens the discussion with his students asking if they feel it is necessary to say something if they hear they term, “That’s so gay.”  What do you think? One student justified the use of the expression stating that it was not meant to hurt people who are gay and “everyone says it.”  Does it make a difference that the term is so commonly used? Does this make it harder to challenge its use? In the discussion, one student says that there is danger in allowing the “little things” (like biased words) to become acceptable because this can lead to larger and more serious forms of prejudice.  Can you think of examples in your own life or in history where this has been true? It can be really hard to think of what to say in the face of hurtful words.  What were the examples that students’ shared that were effective? (“Gay doesn’t mean stupid” and “I have gay friends and that’s offensive.”)  Can you think of other responses that could be effective? To turn on closed captioning for this film, click play, then click the Subtitles/CC button on the bottom of the video player.
Who cares about standing up to hate and intolerance? The Not in Our Town Project team posed this question to students, teachers and community leaders of all different backgrounds, who all responded in no uncertain terms, "I do!" Hear from others committed in the fight against hate and join the conversation by videotaping and sharing your own answer on our YouTube channel. (2:01) Discussion Questions:   Why do you think the person who made this video chose to have so many different people and stories shown? Was there a particular story or message that stood out for you from the video? Explain. Everyone in the video shared that they cared about combating hate and explained why. Do we all care about combating hate too? Let’s talk about our reasons why. (Consider charting the responses to post in the classroom to reinforce this message with students.)  
Across the country, students and teachers are sharing stories, joining together and taking action to create safe schools, free from stereotypes, intolerance, and hate. They’re part of a movement called Not In Our School (NIOS). Learn how to start a NIOS campaign at your school with our free Not In Our School Quick Start Guide. To turn on closed captioning, click the Subtitles/CC icon on the bottom right of the video player. This video is part of the Not In Our School Video Action Kit, a comprehensive toolkit featuring films, lessons, and resources designed to motivate students to speak out against bullying, and create new ways to make their schools safe for everyone. Learn more about the Video Action Kit.  
Facing History and Ourselves combats racism, antisemitism, and religious prejudice by using history to teach tolerance in classrooms around the globe. This lesson idea is part of a collection of resources Facing History and Ourselves has developed to support classroom use of Not in Our School materials. Other resources in this collection include: