New York, NY, October 2, 2017 … Teachers and parents are often at a loss after a mass shooting or act of terrorism to explain to young children what happened, and why. To aid in those difficult classroom conversations taking place in the aftermath of the horrific Las Vegas shooting attack, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has reissued two online educational resources that provide important guidance to parents, teachers and caregivers on how to talk to children in the aftermath of violence and hate.
ADL’s online Table Talk (parent/family discussion guide) resource, “Gun Violence and Mass Shootings,” offers tools and strategies to parents and families on how to discuss sensitive, scary and potentially painful topics around mass shootings. For educators, ADL’s “Empowering Young People in the Aftermath of Hate” offers guidelines for leading a classroom discussion and ensuring that children feel safe and secure in their own environment while discussing sensitive topics.
“Children are impressionable and have a lot of questions that parents and teachers will find hard to answer,” said Jinnie Spiegler, ADL Director of Curriculum. “Often, there are no easy answers. And we’ve found that some teachers and parents don’t know where to even begin with these discussions. But with social and traditional media barraging children with reports and information, teachers and parents must be prepared have open and focused discussions in their classrooms and in homes that can help young people to understand and process what has happened without making them feel unsafe or scared.”
ADL’s resources are currently being shared on social media and directly with school districts through ADL’s network of 26 regional offices across the United States.
Some practical tips ADL offers to parents and teachers include:
- Before talking with children or teens, make sure you feel prepared to discuss the incident and/or topic.
- Treat all young people’s questions with respect and seriousness.
- Answer questions as clearly and honestly as you can and use simple language in terms they can understand, as young people often struggle to understand why these incidents take place and what motivates people who perpetrate these crimes.
- Be alert for signs of distress in children.
- Ask young people what they are hearing from friends, classmates and through social media.
- It is always very useful to highlight for children the people who helped the victims and their families during these incidents as well as those who supported them afterwards.
The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias curricula for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.