As a Jew who grew up in a Chicago suburb not unlike Coronado, I never thought I would pose this question: is the Anti-Defamation League’s No Place for Hate program a positive influence on our community?

I don’t have children, but I remember the ADL programming in my community. It was centered around education about the Holocaust and other human atrocities and why it was of paramount importance that we never forget what happened. It was a net positive influence.

Reviewing the No Place For Hate Handbook & Resource Guide I was surprised to see how much of the ADL’s portfolio has shifted from coverage of anti-Semitism and discrimination in general to a focus on identity politics. What did strike harder was what the ADL requires of a school to be “certified” No Place For Hate.

This includes setting up committees, taking surveys, signing pledges (I signed many pledges like these as boy, they are as effective as a slingshot and a gumball are against an F-18), approved activities and so on, each year.

I suggest you review these materials for yourself. To me this program seems to go beyond education and awareness, it seems to want to compel kindness. The question burning in my mind now is, are we as a community forcing our children to be kind? And even as a reaction to injustice, would this be a net positive influence on our community? Should we take this much agency away from educators for a stamp of approval?

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