U.S. Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest announced that the United States Attorney’s Office has launched a series of presentations in Vermont high schools aimed at educating students on identifying, reporting, and preventing hate crimes and other civil rights violations. This effort is part of the Department of Justice’s United Against Hate Program, developed by its Hate Crimes Enforcement and Prevention Initiative. Attorneys from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and special agents from the FBI have conducted a handful of presentations in Vermont high schools and plan to visit additional schools in 2023.
“Civil rights enforcement is a priority of the United States Attorney’s Office,” said U.S. Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest. “And, in the civil rights context, enforcement often begins with regular reporting of potential civil rights violations. Regular reporting requires an understanding of the law. We are reaching out to Vermont youth – tomorrow’s adults – to give them the tools to recognize hate crimes or discrimination when it happens.”
“Hate crimes have a devastating impact not just on the victims, but their families and communities as well,” said Janeen DiGuiseppi, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Albany Field Office. “That’s why the FBI has been engaged in a nationwide effort to build awareness and encourage individuals to report violations. Our office works closely with our law enforcement partners at all levels to educate and prevent incidents, but we can’t investigate what we don’t know, so we need assistance from the public. We want everyone, including students, to understand that if they encounter what they believe is a hate crime that the FBI is here to investigate.”
If your school is interested in hosting a United Against Hate presentation, contact the office by filling out the form at https://www.justice.gov/usao-vt and clicking on “School Request Form – United Against Hate Presentation” in our Action Center. This interactive presentation is best for audiences under 100 students, though officials are happy to discuss your school’s unique needs.
To learn more about the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Civil Rights Program, or to file a complaint with the office, visit: https://www.justice.gov/usao-vt/civil-rights-program
To report a possible hate crime, call your local law enforcement or 1-800-CALL FBI