Sonoma County Office of Education

Resources for Talking to Students about Violence in Israel, Gaza

10/12/2023 -

Sonoma County Office of Education exterior 2023The terror attack and hostage-taking perpetrated by Hamas against Israel and the subsequent declaration of war by Israel against Hamas in the Gaza Strip has led to hundreds of casualties and injuries among Israelis and Palestinians. Many of the injured, dead, and people taken hostage are civilians.

California and Sonoma County are home to many people with personal, family, or cultural connections to Israel or the Gaza Strip, and our thoughts are with them during this terrible conflict.

As is the case with other violence around the world, students in our schools may have access to unprecedented levels of information and potentially misinformation. In addition, graphic images and footage of violent conflicts are not easy to process, especially for children and youth. It's even more difficult for those who have experienced trauma or witnessed violence themselves.

Parents, caregivers, and educators are faced with the challenge of explaining violence and war to children. Although difficult, these conversations are extremely important and in the context of human history help us work toward peace.

Below are links to resources to help children feel more secure and understand our world. These resources are intended to provide access to information, and families and educators are encouraged to determine which ones are most appropriate for their students.

The San Diego County Office of Education has prepared an extensive resource guide that may prove helpful for adults who are discussing the events in Israel and Gaza with students.

In addition to these resources, our Behavioral Health and Well-Being staff at SCOE offers a list of mental health resources for Sonoma County youth as well as broader community mental health and family resources. You may find these useful for students who have ties to the region or who are strongly affected by what is happening there.