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International Holocaust Remembrance - School Wide Learning Opportunity

Shellie Maloff

On Monday, January 29th our whole school observed International Holocaust Awareness Day.

Our Humanities teaching team, in collaboration with the district's resources, carefully planned this event to ensure that our students understand the significance of this day and the importance of learning about the Holocaust. We used a video reflection that was shared by one of our students to help inform our thinking and planning on how best to facilitate this important learning with all of our students in an assembly format. We presented materials that our Humanities department deemed appropriate for a whole school gathering in the gym with student voice and experiences in mind.

During the assembly, we introduced the RESPOND acronym and observed a one-minute moment of silence to honor the victims of the Holocaust.

I want to express my gratitude to Mr. Schindel for his leadership in facilitating this important learning experience and to our Humanities team for coming together in reflective and thoughtful ways in support of this difficult learning.  Moving forward, we plan to recognize International Holocaust Awareness Day before January 27th. We recognize the importance of planning to ensure the meaningful engagement of our students at what is typically a busy time of year with semester change at the end of January. 

A key takeaway that we left with students is that everyone has a responsibility to RESPOND to oppressive words, language, behaviors and actions.

What does RESPONDING look like? 

Respectful Communication: Engage in respectful and calm communication, even if you disagree. 
Educate: Provide information or resources that challenge stereotypes and promote understanding. 

Educate: Provide information or resources that challenge stereotypes and promote understanding.

Set Boundaries: Clearly communicate your boundaries. You will not tolerate racist comments or behaviors.

Promote Empathy: Encourage empathy by asking others to consider the perspective of those affected by racism. 

Open Dialogue: Encourage conversations where diverse opinions can be shared and discussed constructively.

No Tolerance: Make it clear that you have zero tolerance for racism. Stand firm.

Direct  & Clear Engagement: Address the issue calmly but firmly if it is possible. Share your concern with a safe adult.  Report to an educator you feel comfortable with and the ERASE tool.

Shellie Maloff,
Principal | Mt. Sentinel Secondary School