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Resources for Educators, Families to Discuss the Events in Israel and Gaza with Students

Resources for Educators, Families to Discuss the Events in Israel and Gaza with Students

The terror attack perpetrated by Hamas against Israel and resulting declaration of war by Israel against Hamas in the Gaza Strip has led to numerous casualties and injuries on both sides. There is an ongoing hostage crisis of Israeli citizens being held in Gaza and millions of innocent civilians in harm's way. Similar to the crisis in Ukraine, the effects are far-reaching, with images of the war being broadcast on TV and shared on social media. Emotional and economic impacts can be felt at home by all, especially our young people and those with connections to the region. 

California is home to students and staff with cultural ties to Israel and Palestine and has seen a rise in antisemitic incidents before the war. Nationally, there has also been an increase in Islamophobic incidents in schools. As with all difficult topics, educators should be keenly aware of the emotional impact these events have on students. Teachers should pay close attention to students who are Jewish or Muslim, or who are Israeli or Palestinian, who many have family members or friends in the region, and students who may be worried about how this crisis could impact them here in the United States. Students and teachers may know people who have been killed, are missing, or have been taken hostage.

It's likely our county’s students have been following these events or have overheard conversations and are curious about the cause and impacts this war may have both globally and locally. To help students better understand this event and to place it in a broader context, we've gathered history-social science, mental health, and social and emotional learning resources to support teachers and families in assisting students. 

The resources below are intended solely to provide access to information. Educators know their students and school community best and should determine whether the resource best fits the need.

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Teaching Resources Social and Emotional Resources School Culture Resources

Teaching Resources for Educators

Students want and need to talk about what they see, remember, and feel. To be able to navigate their own emotions and trauma in a healthy, safe, and productive way, students need guidance and a sense of safety from adults in their schools. Classrooms are powerful places to help children process current events, provided educators give renewed energy to creating safe spaces for students. 

As with all difficult topics, educators should be keenly aware of the emotional impact these events have on students. Teachers should pay close attention to students who are Jewish or Muslim, those who may have family members in the region, and students who may be worried about how this crisis could impact them here in the United States. It’s important to be sensitive, not to single these students out to speak about or explain related topics. Before beginning a discussion, teachers are encouraged to consult resources for creating an environment that supports civil discourse:

Some topics educators may consider adapting for students include:

  • The impact of geopolitical issues in the United States and the extent of its obligation to respond.
  • The role and authority of the president (as well as other institutions such as Congress, the media, etc.) in shaping foreign policy.
  • The president’s policy options for responding to this type of crisis.
  • The lasting impacts of significant historical conflict in the Middle East.
  • The human costs of war and conflict.

Links to Learn From

Lesson Plans

Social and Emotional Learning Resources

Our students need the guidance and safety of adults in their home and in their schools to be able to navigate their own emotions and trauma in a healthy, safe, and productive way.

Tips for Talking to Kids (All Ages)

For Elementary School Students

Resilience in a time of war: Tips for parents and teachers of elementary school children: This article from the American Psychological Association can help adults guide their young children beyond fear and to resilience. 

For Middle School Students

Resilience in a time of war: Tips for parents and teachers of middle school children: The American Psychological Association provides tips and strategies for parents and teachers of middle school-aged children.

For Military Families

The San Diego County Office of Education creates and curates resources to support military families and students, and schools that serve military children. 

School Culture Resources

These resources are neither meant to be exhaustive nor is their inclusion an endorsement of a particular political viewpoint. 

Trauma-Informed Resources for School Systems

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network provides resources that can be filtered by topic, keyword, and audience with a focus on how adults can identify traumatic responses in young people and how to support them. 

Addressing Antisemitism in Public Schools

This SDCOE guide for educators to address antisemitism contains resources from educational organizations, many of which are promoted and used by state departments of education and teachers across the country.

Countering Islamophobia in Public Schools

SDCOE’s resource guide on supporting Muslim students includes a section about countering Islamophobia in schools. Teach 9/11 with Compassion guide also contains resources that, while not specific to the war, may be helpful.
 


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