ING Staff Speak About Educator Resources on Paris Attacks

[Video Transcript]

We want to reiterate our utter shock and outrage over Friday’s violence in Paris which disrupted the lives of hundreds of citizens enjoying a Friday evening at the theater, eating dinner, or enjoying a soccer game and impacted the entire city and nation and the world. We express our deepest condolences to the families and all those impacted by these horrific events today that are still ongoing. What was particularly egregious about these attacks was their random, senseless and widespread nature, the seeming purpose of which was to target random people enjoying their lives for the purpose of striking fear, fomenting chaos, and creating insecurity. Such actions reflect an allegiance to anarchy and violence, rather than to any cause, goal or grievance.

Indeed, it is the ultimate injustice to target and kill innocent people, who have nothing to do with any political or other issues the perpetrators might be trying to highlight. All religions, and ethical and moral systems therefore condemn such random violence and killing, including Islam, which holds the killing of innocent people to be the highest sin one can commit against other people. We affirm, reiterate and uphold the sanctity of all human life, the taking of which is among the gravest of all sins. If the goal of the perpetrators is to create chaos, enmity and anti-Muslim sentiment, we believe they have already failed as we witness the cooperation and love being displayed by Parisians. We pray that the perpetrators are found and quickly brought to justice.

  • Ameena Jandali, Content Director 

 

We stand in solidarity today with France and the world against these unconscionable acts of violence, and we stand together as Americans, especially in our public schools. By standing together, we reject the forces of fear, suspicion, and hatred that threaten to divide even people of good will. It is never more important than in moments like these that we live our commitment to unity as one people out of many different ethnicities, cultures and religions.

In fact, in addition to academic skills, these are the values that our common schools were created to pass on to our youth, as the laboratory of democracy our schools are intended to be, guarding the well-being and inclusion of every student and every parent is central.

It will be most important over the coming days to be vigilant and attentive to instances of bullying, name-calling and other negative behavior directed towards South Asian, Middle Eastern and Muslim students in the aftermath of these attacks. In particular, girls wearing headscarves and boys wearing turbans may be especially targeted. It is also important to be aware of the potential impacts of these events on at-risk students, including those who may be struggling with depression and hopelessness. It is only by committing to a zero-tolerance policy for bullying and harassment that we can create the kinds of learning environments that will foster understanding and cohesion rather than reactivity and separation. These times are opportunities to instill the values of respect and civility that are a mark of who we are as Americans on our best days.

  • Marcia Beauchamp, Affiliate Director

 

We also want to specifically make some recommendations for addressing this topic in the classroom. During classroom discussions about the Paris attacks, it is important to emphasize that only the people who committed the acts are responsible for these actions. This is an opportunity to point out and discuss other instances of negative actions painting an entire group in a negative light. It is also important in such discussions to avoid the use of language such as “us” and “them;” Muslims were also killed in the Paris attacks as they were in previous attacks in Lebanon by ISIS this week and they have made up the majority of ISIS’ victims. A Muslim security guard may have actually prevented the death of many more people when he discovered an attacker’s suicide vest while searching him at the entrance.

It is also important in classroom discussions to promote American values of religious and cultural tolerance, respect and an intellectual inquisitiveness to know and understand rather than uncritically accepting unsubstantiated rumors and stereotypes. Discuss ways that an educated citizenry can evaluate emotional events using intellect and rationality rather than letting any emotion – fear, anger or hatred – determine their actions and beliefs. At the same time it is important to emphasize that violence should never be the answer and we need to think about ways we can end the cycle of violence in our own lives in any way we can.

  • Ameena Jandali, Content Director

For free ING educator resources, visit this page. You can read our statement on the recent attacks in Paris here.

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