Acceptance and Empathy Resources for Educators


Articles, lesson plans, and other tools for promoting empathy and acceptance in the classroom.

Following the 2016 election, the Southern Poverty Law Center issued a report surveying their network of teachers about the effect of the election on classrooms. Of the 10,000+ teachers that responded, 90% reported negative effects on their school climate, and 80% described heightened concern among minority students. For 43% of educators, the very idea of teaching about the election spurred anxiety—some didn’t even know how to begin, while others feared outbursts and conflicts between students. Even worse, more hate incidents took place in America's schools than anywhere else. Innumerable schools fell victim to an array of physical fights with racial epithets flung and ultimately, an unacceptable culture of intolerance.

The following is a collection of readings and tools that are intended to help educators introduce acceptance and empathy into their classrooms. We encourage you take advantage of these powerful resources, leveraging the influence you have where it truly matters: in the minds of today’s youth.

Please share these resources far and wide with anyone in your networks, and help us spread acceptance and empathy in these times of need.

Readings and Learnings for Educators

Hate Map, Southern Poverty Law Center
A map of all hate groups in the United States that have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.

Ku Klux Klan: A History of Racism, Southern Poverty Law Center
In light of recent events, take the opportunity to learn more about the history of America’s first terrorist organization, provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Let’s Talk!, Teaching Tolerance
Let's Talk! is a publication that will prepare you to facilitate conversations about race, racism and other difficult topics with students. Build your capacity to safely broach uncomfortable topics with your students, and walk away with use-tomorrow strategies.

Politics In The Classroom: How Much Is Too Much?, nprEd
This article by Paula McAvoy of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Ethics and Education provides guidance to teachers who may be uncertain about what to discuss with students.

Ten Things Every White Teacher Should Know When Talking About Race, Truth for Teachers
A brief, 28-minute podcast that provides starting advice to teachers who are interested in engaging with conversations about equity for the first time.

Lesson Plans and Resources for the Classroom

Anti-Defamation League
ADL provides anti-bias and bullying prevention resources to educators, parents, and families for innovative ideas, new teaching approaches, and fresh beginnings. Linked are resources on teaching about racism, anti-Semitism and white supremacy.

The Charlottesville Crowdsourced List
An 18-page list of anti-racist resources for educators, inspired by the #Charlottesville Curriculum hashtag. The list is often updated with new links for educators.

Color in Colorado
While traditionally a website devoted to English language learners, Color in Colorado has recently added a list of materials on supporting students who may feel unwelcome in schools.

The Critical Media Project
The Critical Media Project is designed to serve educators who seek to incorporate media artifacts that explore the politics of identity into their classroom.

Crisis Text Hotline School Toolkit
Crisis Text Line is free, 24/7 support for those in crisis. If you are interested in bringing Crisis Text Line to your school, click the link above to get the latest version of the School Toolkit, and sign up for updates and new materials as they become available. makes it easy for public school teachers to create classroom project requests that are funded by donors online. Donations are currently being matched for qualifying projects that promote and teach about tolerance!c

EduColor seeks to elevate the voices of public school advocates of color on educational equity and justice. Linked is a list of their resources that promote and embrace the centrality of substantive intersectional diversity.

Equal Justice Initiative
EJI produces reports, discussion guides, short films, and other materials to help students learn more about racial and economic injustice.

Facing History and Ourselves
Facing History and Ourselves is a nonprofit that helps students learn about hatred and bigotry so they can stop them from happening in the future.

Global Nomads
Global Nomads Group fosters dialogue and understanding among the world's youth. By leveraging technology, they enable conversations between middle school and high school students who otherwise would not meet.

Not in Our Town
NIOT provides films, resources, and tools for action—both online and on-the-ground—to help local leaders build vibrant, diverse cities and towns, where everyone can participate.

PBS Education
A list of educational resources provided by PBS Education that speak to the various topics at the forefront of the current news cycle: the history of the Ku Klux Klan and the Civil Rights Movement and background on why the Confederate Flag is such a divisive symbol.

RaceBridges Studios
RaceBridges Studios presents a wide array of free diversity tools, materials, videos and programs that seek to provide creative ways of introducing respectful and honest discussion and reflection about race relations and inclusive behaviors.

Teaching Tolerance
Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, provides free resources to educators—teachers, administrators, counselors and other practitioners—who work with children from kindergarten through high school.

Share My Lesson
Share My Lesson has identified lesson plans, activities and classroom resources to help students understand our nation’s recent events while also encouraging them to discuss their feelings about them.