Donald Trump may never be elected president, I hope, but he already has poisoned not only the political debate in the United States but also the atmosphere in some classrooms. He is one of the last individuals any young person should select as a role model, but some students apparently have.
The summer issue of NEA TODAY has an article about a recent report from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project confirming that “the hostile tone and bullying behavior like that seen at Trump campaign events is having a profound negative effect on individual students and entire school communities.”
“Nationwide, educators have reported alarming cases of student bullies spouting anti-immigrant, anti-minority rhetoric they have heard during the course of the 2016 presidential campaign – primarily from Trump and his supporters,” Amanda Litvinov wrote.
Here is a sample:
# High school students in Iowa yelled “Trump, Trump, Trump!” during a ballgame against a rival school whose student body was heavily Hispanic.
# Last spring, two third-graders in Virginia taunted classmates by saying, “When Trump’s president, you’ll be deported.”
# One teacher reported hearing a fifth-grader tell a Muslim schoolmate that “he was supporting Donald Trump because he was going to kill all of the Muslims if he became president.”
# Nearly 70 percent of educators responding to an online survey said students – including many Muslims, immigrants and children of immigrants – had expressed concerns about what might happen to their families after the election.
# More than half of the teachers in the survey said they had observed an increase in hateful language, especially anti-Muslim or anti-immigrant remarks.
# There have been reports of students not wanting to attend school because they believed their classmates hate them.
# Forty-three percent of teachers surveyed said they were hesitant to teach about the current presidential election for fear they might stir students up.
“Last election was amazing in my class!” a teacher from San Antonio was quoted. “We even learned about electoral votes using other first-grade classrooms. Not this year! Not touching it!”
Trump is nauseating. Yet, people who should know better, including some of Texas’ top elected officials continue to support him. What kind of role models are they?