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U.S. Attorney’s Office Hosts Conference Addressing “Hate Speech” in K-12 Schools with Hate Group SPLC

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The U.S. Attorney’s Office is partnering with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). It shouldn’t be partnering with that vicious leftist hate group, it should be investigating it.

Southern Poverty Law Center: ‘Our Aim in Life Is to Destroy These Groups, Completely’

I am proud to be a member of the coalition and a signatory on this letter.

On Wednesday, 47 leaders of conservative nonprofits sent an open letter to the media warning against using the notorious “hate map” put out by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The leaders denounced any news organization that would cite the SPLC’s list of “extremists” and “hate groups” as if it carried moral authority. “The SPLC is an attack dog of the political left” and should be treated as such, the leaders wrote.

“To associate public interest law firms and think tanks with neo-Nazis and the KKK is unconscionable, and represents the height of irresponsible journalism,” the leaders declared. “All reputable news organizations should immediately stop using the SPLC’s descriptions of individuals and organizations based on its obvious political prejudices.” (PJM)

The letter addressed “Members of the Media” and strongly warned against the SPLC. The leaders characterized the organization as “a discredited, left-wing, political activist organization that seeks to silence its political opponents with a ‘hate group’ label of its own invention and application that is not only false and defamatory, but that also endangers the lives of those targeted with it.”

“U.S. Attorney’s Office Hosts Conference Addressing Hate Speech in K-12 Schools,” U.S. Department of Justice, October 24, 2017 (thanks to Nancy):

BOSTON – The U.S. Attorney’s Office hosted a conference yesterday aimed at bringing together educators, school administrators, advocates, and community members to learn and share ideas about preventing and effectively responding to hate speech in K-12 schools in Massachusetts.

“Preventing and responding to hate speech in our schools is essential to ensuring equal educational opportunities for youth in Massachusetts,” said Acting U.S. Attorney William D. Weinreb. “All young people have a right to learn in a safe and welcoming environment that fosters respect for diversity and nurtures healthy development.”

The full day conference, “Hate Speech in K-12 Schools: Prevention and Response,” was organized by Weinreb’s Civil Rights Unit and held at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester. The conference brought together a diverse audience of over 200 educators, school resource officers, school administrators, advocates, and community members from across Massachusetts for a series of panels and plenary sessions about addressing hate speech in Massachusetts schools.

Keynote speaker Maureen Costello, the Director of Teaching Tolerance at the Southern Poverty Law Center, spoke about the importance of addressing bias in schools. “Thanks to media coverage of hate speech incidents and the use of modern technology to bully or harass, we are more aware than ever of what vulnerable children face in school, and we have a profound responsibility to ensure that our schools are inclusive and free from bias,” she said. According to keynote speaker Steve Wessler, a Human Rights Educator & Advocate, “The impact [of hate speech] on students includes damage to their physical and mental health as well as to their ability to succeed in school. Additionally, degrading language can escalate from words to violence when no one speaks up for civility and respect.”

The sessions covered a variety of topics including how to address the needs of vulnerable populations who are disproportionately victimized by hate speech and how to prevent hate speech and harassment online and through social media. One panel shared best practices in prevention programs and how to create and maintain positive and welcoming school environments. A panel of legal experts also discussed the legal obligations of schools with respect to harassment and hate speech, including First Amendment protections that apply to students in schools, and when hate speech becomes a hate crime.

The Civil Rights Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office was established in 2015 with the mission of enhancing federal civil rights enforcement. For more information on the Office’s civil rights efforts, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-ma/civil-rights.

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