ARTICLE

Special Report: Hate at School

Teaching Tolerance and the SPLC have released a new report on hate and bias in U.S. schools. The findings are grim, but schools, communities and elected officials can work together to change that.
Illustration by Alex Williamson

No one should have to work or learn in a space where they’re exposed to bias and harassment. 

But while we may all agree with that statement, we must also all recognize that dealing with hate and bias at school are a part of everyday life for too many of our students and colleagues.

Today, we’re sharing our new special report, Hate at School 2018. As our regular readers know, TT has been tracking media reports of incidents of hate and bias in U.S. schools for over a year. Most of these media-reported incidents involved racist, antisemitic, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ slurs, comments or symbols. In 2018, we were disheartened, if not surprised, to learn that hate makes news in elementary and secondary schools—on campus and off—in all 50 states in the union and Washington, D.C.

In the fall of 2018, we reached out to you and other educators across the United States with a survey to find out what you were seeing in your classrooms, schools and communities. More than 2,700 of you responded, affirming what we already suspected: News reports of hate are only the tip of the iceberg.

In Hate at School 2018, we offer an overview of these findings. But our goal isn’t just to recognize where things are going wrong—it’s to encourage what’s going right. Almost a third of you reported witnessing no hate incidents in your school communities last fall. Again and again, you credited students, colleagues and administrators with building and sustaining a school culture where all identities are respected and valued.

We hope that, if the incidents described in the report echo ones you’ve seen or heard in your own community, you’ll find inspiration in these schools. We hope you’ll check out our school climate resources, which offer recommendations for responding to hate and bias, leading conversations about critical topics, speaking up against hate and building healthy communities. 

And we hope you’ll share this report with friends and colleagues—in education and beyond—to build public support so that you and all educators and school leaders have the resources you need to ensure schools are safe, inclusive spaces where all students can thrive.