Education Resource Hub for Teachers and Parents Now Available
Toronto, ON – November 9, 2022 – During the last school year, on average, more than two antisemitic incidents per week were reported in GTA schools. Many of these incidents impacted children in grades 6-8. To support middle school educators and parents in the face of this concerning trend, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, in partnership with the Toronto Holocaust Museum and Facing History & Ourselves Canada, created Unlearn Antisemitism – an online resource hub to learn about, identify, and take action to address antisemitism.
Funded by Ontario’s Ministry of Education, Unlearn Antisemitism provides educators and parents with short educational videos and discussion guides to frame constructive, courageous conversations – at home or in the classroom – centred on Ontario middle school students’ real lived experiences of antisemitism and online hate. These tools can be used proactively, or reactively when an incident occurs.
“Antisemitism is on the rise in Canada and around the world, with an alarming increase in antisemitic incidents in spaces where children spend their time: at school, online, or during extracurricular activities,” said Noah Shack, Vice President, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. “Educating teachers and parents about how antisemitism manifests, its impact on students, and providing tools for meaningful learning are essential for stopping its spread.”
The launch of the Unlearn Antisemitism program aligns with Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce’s announcement today unveiling a series of reforms to combat rising antisemitism across Ontario schools, including the introduction of mandatory Holocaust learning for the first time in elementary schools.
Beginning in September 2023, Ontario will implement the first mandatory learning requirement on Holocaust education in the Grade 6 curriculum to help younger students gain a deeper understanding of the significance of the Holocaust. Additionally, the Ministry of Education will work with the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) to develop professional learning, also known as an Additional Qualification, for teachers so they can further support efforts to educate students on the Holocaust.
“We are taking action to counter antisemitism and hate, because those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “With antisemitism on the rise, we are introducing mandatory Holocaust education in elementary schools, expanding resources and strengthening anti-hate training for Ontario students, educators, and families.”
“We applaud Minister Lecce’s initiative to include Holocaust education in the grade 6 social studies curriculum and develop professional learning for educators. With antisemitic incidents among middle school children on the rise, this will provide an important educational foundation at a formative stage. Teaching the lessons of the Holocaust is crucial for preventing all forms of hate and discrimination from taking root, and for preserving the values of respect, inclusion, and diversity we hold dear as Canadians,” said Shack.
Unlearn Antisemitism is a free, bilingual resource hub for educators, parents, and all who wish to learn more about antisemitism. It is available at unlearnit.ca. For quick access to resources for educators, click here, and for parents, here.
For more information, or to bring it to your classroom, contact [email protected].
Antisemitic events are on the rise in schools across Ontario, with over 50 incidents involving antisemitic hate symbols occurring in the Toronto District School Board alone in the 2021-22 school year.
Over 90 percent of all antisemitic incidents in Ontario schools occur in Grades 7 and 8.
The Toronto Police Service (TPS) 2021 hate crimes report revealed that, despite being only 3.8 percent of Toronto’s population, the Jewish community was victimized in 22 percent of reported hate crimes.
In Canada, according to Statistics Canada, more than one hate incident targeted Canada’s Jewish community every single day in 2021, on average. That’s more than nine per week or 40 per month.
On October 26, 2020, the Government of Ontario formally adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism. More information about the IHRA definition and the illustrative examples it contains can be found here.
About the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations across Canada. CIJA is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve and protect Jewish life in Canada through advocacy and to advance the public policy interests of Canada’s organized Jewish community.
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