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Questions for Discussion

Read the situations below (adapted from the book Hate Hurts) individually or as a class. Discuss the questions with your parents or teacher and classmates.

Sally was someone Allison and her friends made fun of at school. Allison didn't know why, but she joined her friends in laughing at Sally and calling her names behind her back. When Allison was alone and would see Sally, she would smile at her and Sally always smiled back. They began to talk and spend time together away from school. Allison spent a day with Sally at Sally's summer cottage. They also spent a lot of weekends together, just the two of them. Allison realized that Sally was a wonderful person and friend who never said anything nasty about other people. At school, Allison was torn between her friends and Sally. She felt she had no choice but to join her friends in making fun of Sally.

What would you do in Allison's situation? What if you were Sally?
At recess one day, Ian heard one of his classmates tell a joke that made fun of Jews who were killed in the Holocaust. The kids who were gathered around Ian's classmate laughed at the joke. Ian didn't think it was funny, and it made him mad at everyone who was laughing. Ian's grandmother was a Holocaust survivor. She had a number tattooed on her arm from the concentration camp. Ian then noticed that his teacher was standing near the group and she heard the joke, too. He expected her to say something to the students, but she didn't. Ian felt that the teacher's inaction was the same as saying it was okay to tell those kinds of jokes, even in front of a Jewish person.

What would you do if you were Ian? What would you do if you were the teacher? What if you were the kid telling the joke and you noticed that your joke had hurt Ian's feelings? What would you say to Ian?

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