After a preparation phase of about two months, which was used by the ‘Schule ohne Rassismus – Schule mit Courage’ (SoR) team to establish contact with facilitators and organise the funding of the project, the group members took part in a two-day workshop with the objective of raising awareness about, as well as combating hate speech, both inside and outside the school environment.

In the course of the workshop the participants gained insight into the nature of hate speech and how it affects individuals, groups, and communities. By engaging in role plays reflecting real life situations as well as watching brief videos / film footage, we have learned to recognise hate speech and explored suitable solutions for addressing it. In this context, the group consisting of students from various cultural backgrounds also had the opportunity to speak about their own experiences of prejudice, discrimination and sexism at school as well as in their private environment (such as sports clubs or circle of friends). They practiced how to respond to verbal attacks in a responsible, non-violent way, using an argumentative approach and the right kind of body language, enabling them to stand up for democratic values and human rights.

The training course has empowered the SoR team members to work as multipliers who will share their newly acquired knowledge with fellow students and friends, thus fighting hate speech and creating a safe space for everybody at our school, regardless of their race, religion, national origin, appearance, gender, or sexual orientation.

We are very grateful for the support OBESSU has granted us and will continue pursuing our goals by organising several topic-related events throughout the school year (e.g. as part of the SoR project week “Stand up for Courage: in June 2018.)

Article written by Pam Thelen & Franziska Nimmler, SoR Team