ADL Offers Resource to Help Parents Discuss JCC Bomb Threats with Children

New York, NY, March 2, 2017 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has produced an online resource to help parents, families and educators discuss the recent wave of bomb threats and evacuations affecting Jewish Community Centers and day schools with young children and teens.

The ADL resource, “Five tips for talking with children about bomb threats at Jewish community centers” provides educators, caregivers and family members with tools to help children understand the incidents and to have an open conversation about bias and prejudice that puts the incidents into perspective.

“After more than 120 bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers and day schools leading to the evacuation of children and the elderly, anxiety levels are high and children in the affected communities are asking tough questions,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “This resource offers practical guidance to parents who need to reassure their children without dismissing valid concerns about the recent series of threats and about rising anti-Semitism more generally.”

The online resource was created by anti-bias education experts in ADL’s award-winning A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute, which works with educators, parents and caregivers through the League’s network of 27 regional offices to help young people deal with issues of anti-Semitism and prejudice in their schools and communities.

The five recommended ADL strategies for parents and educators include:

Prepare yourself: Before talking with children or teens, parents are encouraged to feel prepared to discuss the incident and provide enough space and time for children to share feelings and ask questions.

Treat all questions with respect: It’s preferable to tell children that you need to think about their questions before answering, rather than ignoring or dismissing a question that makes the parent or caregiver feel uncomfortable or anxious.

Be open to talking about why these incidents take place: Young people wonder why incidents such as bomb threats happen and what motivates people who perpetrate these crimes. These are difficult questions, but the answer is not to respond with stereotypes, assumptions and scapegoating.

Be alert for signs of distress: These can include withdrawal, lack of interest or acting out and fear of attending school or other community activities.  Misinformation, rumors and bias can take place on the playground or on a smartphone, so parents and educators are encouraged to gauge what children and teens are hearing from friends and on social media.

Focus on the helpers: It’s always useful to highlight for children the people who helped them and their families during those incidents as well as those who supported them afterwards.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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