Editor’s update (20.11.17): When I wrote this less than a year and a half ago, I had no idea that this terrorist attack would become one of many. As I review this now in November, 2017, I’m incredibly saddened to think that tragic events such as these have almost become ‘the norm.’ At the same time, I am ever more resolved that schools need to tackle this head-on so that students are properly informed. I was reminded a few days ago of a quote from Maya Angelou that rings true here: “Hate: It was caused a lot of the problems in the world, but has not yet solved one.”
Waking up to news of the latest terror attack in Nice, France is so sad. For BBC live news, click here.
The fact that these attacks are becoming more frequent; that we’ve all woken up to different terror attacks more and more often over the last few years, doesn’t make it any less shocking.
It breaks my heart to listen to a teenage girl from Nice, describing the horrific scene on Bastille Day, and going on to say that she will have to think before she goes out now.
As a teacher, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand in front of my students and discuss events such as these, both initially as things happen but also the follow-up when the hate-speak begins. I’m so sad that this generation of children have to play out their childhood to a chorus of mass shootings, death, hatred and horror.
Even worse, I know a lot of teachers won’t even mention this, because they don’t know how to, without stirring up discussion that they’re unwilling to confront. They don’t understand it themselves.
The result of this though, is that pupils will develop their own uninformed opinion about these attacks and those behind them, or more likely, just pick up someone else’s, allowing terror, hate and fear to grow on both sides.
Though many schools have worked hard to include chunks of information about ‘British Values,’ holding assemblies about refugees and racism and bigotry… I just don’t think it’s enough. I’m thinking we need some explicit teaching based on these attacks; as difficult and unpleasant that might be; as much as it might bring out the worst in some children; as much as it might even lead to upset. To ignore the topic is far worse.
Those encouraging hatred have upped their game: so then must we.