Finding the Balance: Countering Extremism and Combating Stereotypes

  • For Educators
    For Parents, Families, and Caregivers

Young people are exposed to news stories every day through social media, television, the Internet and overheard conversations among the adults in their lives. Terrorism and extremism are always in the news and can raise a wide range of emotions and questions. The topic can also be challenging to teach because the situation is always changing and evolving. In addition, the conversations can sometimes lead to stereotyping, bias and bigotry when identifying the perpetrator and the groups to which he or she belongs. 

The resources below provide background information about the topic as well as strategies and ideas for educators and parents/family members in discussing these issues. It includes information about how extremism can be taught while ensuring that the threat is neither over- nor under-exaggerated; strategies to assist educators in discouraging biased ideas that unfortunately surround the discussion of terrorism and violent extremism in the United States; and resources to help educators equip students to be savvy consumers of online material and propaganda and create inclusive communities that stand as front lines of defense against violence. Included as well is a backgrounder for educators and administrators that delves into some of the causes and observable signs of student violence and extremism and provides evidence-based suggestions for keeping schools safe.


Addressing Hate Online: Countering Cyberhate with Counterspeech (High School Lesson Plan)

Anti-Muslim Bigotry and Being an Ally (Middle/High School Lesson Plan)

Outsmarting Propaganda: Combatting the Lure of Extremist Recruitment Strategies (High School Lesson Plan)

Terrorist Attack in Paris and Scapegoating (Middle/High School Lesson Plan)

Resources for Educators and Schools

Challenging Biased Language

Creating an Anti-Bias Learning Environment

Helping Students Make Sense of News Stories about Bias and Injustice

Mass Violence and Extremism: Information for Educators and School Administrators

Resources for Parents/Family Members

Empowering Young People in the Aftermath of Hate

Islamophobia and Being an Ally (Table Talk Parent/Family Discussion Guide)

Nice, France and Our Response to Terrorist Attacks (Table Talk Parent/Family Discussion Guide)

Propaganda, Extremism and Recruitment Tactics (Table Talk Parent/Family Discussion Guide)

Refugees, Reactions and World Response (Table Talk Parent/Family Discussion Guide)


Background Information

Murder and Extremism in the United States in 2015 (Report)

Myths and Facts about Muslim People and Islam

The ISIS Impact on the Domestic Islamic Extremist Threat: Homegrown Islamic Extremism 2009-2015 (Report)

With Hate in their Hearts: The State of White Supremacy in the United States (Report)