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

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)

Other Resources for Educators

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 and Family Members

Empowering Young People in the Aftermath of Hate

Gun Violence and Mass Shootings (Table Talk/Parent Family Discussion Guide)

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)

Background Reading

Murder and Extremism in the United States in 2016 (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)

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