Finding the Balance: Countering Extremism and Combating Stereotypes

  • For Educators
    For Parents, Families, and Caregivers
High School Students Group Discussion


Young people are exposed to discussions of extremism every day through social media, news and overheard conversations between adults. As an educators, the topic can be challenging to teach because the situation is always changing and evolving and worse, classroom conversations can themselves lead to stereotyping, bias and bigotry when discussing perpetrators and victims. 

The following resources will help you teach about extremism while ensuring that the threat is neither over- nor under-exaggerated. They include:

  • strategies that discourage the reinforcement of biased ideas during discussion;
  • resources to equip students to be savvy consumers of online material and propaganda;
  • background information for educators and administrators on the causes and observable signs of student violence and extremism; and 
  • evidence-based suggestions for keeping schools safe.

Lesson Plans

Educator and Parent Resources for Discussing Issues of Extremism and Stereotypes with Young People

Teaching Tools & Strategies

Background Reading on Bias and Extremism

Murder and Extremism in the United States in 2018

Each year, ADL’s Center on Extremism tracks murders perpetrated by all types of extremists. In 2018, every single extremist killing — from Pittsburgh to Parkland — had a link to right-wing extremism. This report provides key insights into the crimes, including motivations behind these violent attacks.
Extremism, Terrorism & Bigotry

Other Resources

Mass Violence and Extremism Backgrounder: Information for Educators and School Administrators

This backgrounder strives to provide comprehensive information that is relevant and appropriate for all school districts. It delves into some of the causes and observable signs of student violence and extremism and provides a set of steps for schools to take that may aid in discouraging attacks. This resource is a joint project of ADL and The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.

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