Parents and teachers in Canada will now have an “educational toolkit” to help them if they notice a child being groomed by a hate group.
The new resource, launched by the Canadian government in partnership with the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, intends to combat the growing prevalence of hate groups online. Members of those groups, most of whom were raised in the digital age, are becoming more adept at recruiting. For example, the neo-Nazi terror group The Base, as well as other neo-Nazi groups, have used meme websites to recruit young people, usually male teenagers, into their movement.
Authorities are still figuring out ways to effectively combat the problem.
The toolkit can be found online free of charge here and contains modules that run teachers and parents through a variety of subjects related to hate groups, such as ideologies and recruitment techniques. One of the sections presents scenarios and offers ways to handle to them from a variety of perspectives. Elizabeth Simons, the deputy director for the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, said that the examples were all taken from real-world events that had occurred in Canada.
"The scenarios in the toolkit deal with increasing severity of what hate might look like within the school community, said Simons.“You start out with anonymous hate promotion—so that could be graffiti, that could be a swastika on a desk.
“It starts from there and then it escalates all the way to overt hate organizing within the school community and outside the school community” she added.
The project is one of the latest anti-racism initiatives rolled out by Canada’s government. In a Wednesday press conference announcing the project, Ahmed Hussen, the minister of housing diversity and inclusion, said that in total the government "has invested $35 million to fund 175 anti-racism projects across the country."
Bernie Farber, the chair of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, added in the press conference that Canadian schools still have too many instances of hate and brought up recent examples, including a group of children beating up a Black child while yelling slurs in Edmonton and children making videos of themselves doing Nazi salutes. Farber said the workshops will continue to evolve and that the Canadian Anti-Hate Network is already running the seminars.
The vice president for professional development for the Ontario School Counsellors Association echoed that sentiment and said the group was surprised “at how many hate groups operated in Canada and how many methods these groups use to engage and recruit youth.”
“As we would like to as parents, we can't shield our children from everything,” Hussen said. “But we can give them the tools to make the right decisions when they react to real life situations, whether in person or online when sometimes it's difficult to know how to respond.”