Our Teachers portal (like our Students portal) relies heavily on a guide produced by the Western States Center (WSC), Confronting White Nationalism in Schools: A Toolkit. The Toolkit walks through a variety of scenarios, indicating the way teachers, students, parents, and school administrators can respond productively. The scope of our work here is more narrowly focused on the teachers’ role.

Within that focus, we have elaborated on the content of white nationalist positions. In particular, we have tried to play out in some detail approaches a teacher might deploy in discussion with an at-risk student. These points are informed by discussions in Kurt Braddock’s Weaponized Words as well as by more general principles, guided by Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind. In addition, we have extended the measured tone of response stressed in Building Resilience & Confronting Risk in the Covid-19 Era: A Parents & Caregivers Guide to Online Radicalization, developed by Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab (PERIL) and Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The PERIL-SPLC guide is also central to our discussions in the “What To Do” section for parents and family. Teachers who are considering how to respond to white nationalist incidents at school may be interested in consulting those pages, especially the section on “early engagement.”

We have drawn also on several other guides specifically dealing with school settings: Speak Up at School: How to Respond to Everyday Prejudice, Bias and Stereotypes, created by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Teaching Tolerance” project (now renamed, “Learning for Justice”), and School Response to Bullying, Intolerance, and Hate, a publication of the “Not In Our Schools” project of Not In Our Town. On the matter of student clothing, we have particularly benefited from relevant sections of Cynthia Miller-Idriss’s, Hate in the Homeland (chapter 3).

Videos listed in the Sources & Resources page may be useful to teachers or, in some cases, be appropriate for individual students or as classroom materials, in whole or in part.

In addition, teachers may find it helpful to consider the detailed description of a complex classroom situation at the community college level discussed in, Sarah Rider’s Tolerating Intolerance.

Throughout we have stressed that the policies and procedures of individual schools must take priority for the teachers who work in them. We offer this page as an opportunity for teachers to reflect more generally on ways of addressing the problem of white nationalism in schools. The WSC guide noted above has specific recommendations for school policies and best practices (pp. 32-35). Some examples appear in the box to the right.

Part of preparation for responding to white nationalism in schools is learning about the basic beliefs of the movement. On this site, What White Nationalists Believe and other pages that flow from it have been prepared with the needs of teachers in mind. Additional resources are discussed in the Sources & Discussion sections of those pages.

Some policy & best practices recommendations from the Western States Center Toolkit

  • Foster and support strong student organizations.
  • Maintain strong ties to a wide range of community organizations: libraries, community centers, faith-based groups, and service organizations can play vital roles in reporting and responding.
  • Take student claims of harassment seriously.
  • Make training available to help all staff identify students who may be vulnerable to recruitment or already exploring white nationalist ideology.
  • Implement a confidential or anonymous online reporting system through which students can share safety concerns.

For further suggestions, see the WSC Toolkit, pp. 32-35.

Updated, October 2021