Preventing radicalization leading to violence in the schools

What is radicalization?

Radicalization generally refers to a shift away from moderate viewpoints toward extreme or intransigent viewpoints that reject the status quo, but not necessarily in a violent manner.

It is important to keep in mind, however, that holding radical opinions is not the same as engaging in radical behaviour, or even violence. Moreover, the kind of radicalization that leads to violence cannot necessarily be detected through observation since the behaviours that characterize it are often associated with forms of protest or attention seeking.

Violent radicalization is the result of a process in which the normal practices of dialogue and compromise are gradually abandoned in favour of increased involvement in tactics of confrontation and conflict. It is understood, therefore, that the Action plan (in French only) and the whole range of measures instituted by the Ministère focus on radicalization that leads to violence.

What resources are available to me?

  • Training
    Training for school administrators and staff will be available in the fall of 2016. Meanwhile, the schools are invited to contact the Direction des services d’accueil et d’éducation interculturelle to identify resource people who may be able to intervene in the schools.
  • Information sheet
    A sheet summarizing the information needed by education professionals also provides advice with regard to attitudes and initiatives conducive to the creation of a positive school climate.
  • List of references
    Documentation and organizations that you may find helpful in carrying out your work

What can I do as an education professional?

  • Become informed and share information.
    • Familiarize yourself with the school’s anti-bullying and anti-violence plan.
    • Familiarize yourself with the intervention strategy recommended by the school if a student is deemed to be in danger of becoming radicalized.
    • Inform the students and their families about the school’s intervention strategy, anti-violence and anti-bullying plan and code of conduct.Ensure that all school staff and the students’ families have a common understanding of each one’s roles and responsibilities in promoting harmonious community life and establishing a positive school climate.
  • Adopt the following attitudes
    • Support the school’s essential role as a unifying and protective force in the lives of the students, their families and the community.
    • Recognize the role and influence of adults in the school system in promoting harmonious community life and preventing radicalization leading to violence.
    • Familiarize yourself with the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and review it with colleagues to ensure that interventions do not involve discrimination or profiling and are not in any way detrimental to the exercise of the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Charter.
    • Take advantage of every opportunity to add an intercultural perspective to the subjects you teach.
  • Suggest or implement initiatives conducive to the creation of a positive school climate.
    • Organize intercultural awareness activities with the students.
      Example: Set up projects that encourage intercultural contact and social engagement involving everyone.
    • Foster initiatives that reflect and promote the diversity of the students’ cultural heritage.
      Example: Highlight the contributions of various communities to building Québec society.
    • Include families by suggesting various ways in which they could collaborate with the school.
      Example: Invite families to take part in artistic initiatives.
    • Promote initiatives that help young people to develop a feeling of belonging to the school and the society.
      Example: Provide spaces in which young people are encouraged to engage in friendly and respectful discussion on issues that are important to them.
    • Train young people to do critical analyses of the media, particularly social media.
      Example: Equip students to identify the factors that contribute to indoctrination.
    • Involve other school staff in discussions relating to the situations of young people who may be at risk, and never act alone on the basis of suspicions that may turn out to be unfounded.
      Example: Set up a space in which staff can discuss their observations and make sure that these discussions take place at the appropriate times and places, in order to avoid profiling.