One school has begun combating hate by encouraging student leaders teaching fellow students about genocide.

Teaching Fellow Students About GenocideStudents at Hoosac Valley Middle & High School hosted two new programs; a “Celebration of Diversity and Difference” lasting a week, and a ninth grade research project called the “Genocide Museum”.

“We’ve had some incidents in the school and district that were disturbing, and some racist,” said high school English teacher Kayleigh Colombero.

The response was for the school and community to reach out, and introduce a peer leadership program. “A World of Difference” was developed by the Anti-Defamation League, and Colombero has worked with them.

Colombero completed three days of training with the  ADL, and the school trained 15 juniors and seniors to lead the activities for ninth graders, allowing them to become aware of bigotry and self identity.

“The ADL uses an ‘assume goodwill approach,’ meaning that some people may do or say things unintentionally, not knowing the harm they cause,” Colombero said. “Basically, A World of Difference is peers helping peers understand appropriate behavior and speech and understand why that’s an important part of becoming an adult and civil citizen.”

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Teaching Fellow Students About Genocide