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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Both sides: Schools try to create a 'safe space' to 'process' attack on Israel

I feel for teachers who feel obliged to discuss Hamas' terror attack on Israel with their students. How do you talk about terrorists killing young people at a music festival, going house by house in a village to kill grandparents, parents and children. It's too much for children.

There are reports that women were raped at the festival before being killed or taken hostage, that women and children were beheaded in one kibbutz. Forty babies? Perhaps only 40 dead of all ages. How many beheaded? If the death toll of babies and toddlers is less than 40 and they were all shot, is that sort of OK?

An Israeli family, including twin 6-year–old girls and their 4-year-old brother, were killed by Hamas terrorists in their home at Nir Oz.

Another approach is more likely. Teachers will provide a once-over-lightly on the history of conflict, students will agree that violence is bad, everyone will hope that "both sides" will refrain from further violence.

School leaders are trying to "help their communities process the Hamas attack and the ensuing Israeli response," reports Lauraine Langreo in Education Week.

“California is home to students and staff with cultural ties to Israel and Palestine, and has seen a rise in antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents even before the outbreak of war,” according to an Oct. 7 memo from the San Diego County Office of Education. “As educators, we must make sure we provide a safe space for all members of our community to learn about current events and process their emotions.” Fred Rundle, the superintendent of Mercer Island school district in Washington state, sent out an Oct.9 memo providing resources for educators and parents to use to discuss the crisis, she reports. “Our hearts are with our students, staff, and families impacted by the horrific events in Israel and Gaza that began over the weekend,” he wrote. Education Week also has resources on the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, talking to children about violence, teaching controversial issues and misinformation.

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