Friday, September 2, 2016

Donald Trump and American Classrooms

In case you missed Trump's speech at the American Legion Convention, here is some of what he said.
Together, we are going to work on so many shared goals. But I want to begin by discussing one goal that I know is so important to all of you: promoting American pride and patriotism in America’s schools.
In A Trump Administration, I plan to work directly with the American Legion to uphold our common values and to help ensure they are taught to America’s children. We want our kids to learn the incredible achievements of America’s history, its institutions, and its heroes.
We will stop apologizing for America, and we will start celebrating America.
We will be united by our common culture, values and principles – becoming One American Nation.
One country, under one constitution, saluting one American Flag.
The flag all of you helped to protect and preserve.'s
That flag deserves respect, and I will work with American Legion to help to strengthen respect for our flag – and, by the way, we want young Americans to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
Read more >>>>
According to teachers, Trump's rhetoric is having an effect on students that could not be more negative.

Teachers describe the heartbreaking impact Trump’s hateful rhetoric is having on their students.

Kids across America are listening—and they deserve better.
Fresh off his disastrous visit to Mexico, Donald Trump delivered remarks in Phoenix meant to “clarify” his stance on immigration. It turned out to be his most hateful—and arguably scariest—speech yet.Trump painted undocumented immigrants as “thugs” and murderers. He touted ideological tests for people entering the country. And he called for a new “special deportation task force,” continuing his previous threats to round up and deport millions of people.
This type of poisonous rhetoric is the hallmark of Trump’s candidacy—and it’s seeping into America’s classrooms and normalizing hateful language as acceptable. Many have said that it’s inflaming racial tensions and producing a disturbing level of anxiety and fear, particularly among students of color.
The Southern Poverty Law Center surveyed 2,000 K-12 teachers across the country about racial and ethnic tensions in the classroom—and their responses were heartbreaking:

More than two-thirds of teachers reported that students—particularly Muslims and immigrant children—are worried about what will happen to their families after the election.

“My fourth graders are having a difficult time understanding why Donald Trump is using such hateful and inflammatory rhetoric. One of my students who is Muslim is worried that he will have to wear a microchip identifying him as Muslim.”
“In a second grade classroom where a teacher held a class election, and Trump won, a Hispanic child cried and said, ‘I am going to have to go back to Mexico.’”
“It has absolutely created a sense of anxiety among our Mexican students. They fear what will happen to their families. My black students are also concerned for their safety because of what they see on TV at Trump rallies. My white students are concerned for their friends.”
“My Hispanic students seem dejected about not only Donald Trump’s rhetoric, but also about the amount of people who seem to agree with him. They feel sure that Americans, their fellow students, and even their teachers hate them (regardless of their citizenship).”
“I often tell people, particularly Trump supporters, that until they have to look a teary-eyed Muslim child in the face and assure them that they and their family are not going to get deported because I refuse to stand by and let that happen, they will never understand the problem.”

Some teachers even report that those fears are impacting their students’ education:

“I work with English learners and one of my younger, second-grade students has said, ‘If Mr. Trump is president he’s going to send us all back.’ She has talked about this daily and is very visibly upset. It is interfering with her learning in school and is frustrating to me because it’s having such a great impact on her education.”
“I teach immigrants (many undocumented) and refugees and they have all but given up making any effort in school. They tell me it doesn’t matter, because is Trump is elected, they will all be deported.”

More than half of teachers reported an increase in rude behavior and uncivil discourse modeled after Trump.

“It is difficult to teach the campaign and maintain a respectful atmosphere. The gross disregard for polite conversation has affected the students. They say things like “Trump says it this way” or “that is what Trump says”, or “did you hear what Trump said now” and of course discussion ensues. Sometimes they are not so polite in their conversation.”
“At lunch, the students use foul language and usually stop when I tell them, but there has been a definite increase in the language. Now, when I tell them to stop, they retort ‘Hey, if Trump can use that language and he is gonna be president, then why can’t I?!’”

Even worse, teachers are witnessing increased bullying and harassment of students based race, religion, or nationality.

“I had one student comment that there were too many ‘Mexicans’ in the classroom. When one student (from Honduras) told him she found his comment offensive, he told her once Trump is elected she will be gone anyway. In another classroom, where I co-teach, a group of boys called another boy (from India) ISIS.”
“I have had comments such as, ‘I hope Trump gets elected so he can send you back to where you came from.’”
“I have witnessed students telling other students they’ll be deported if Trump wins. As a counselor, I’ve had to intervene with Latino students to calm their fears and to give them a safe space to share how frustrated they feel that society thinks Latinos like them and their parents are criminals. Some students are crying in the classroom and having meltdowns at home. Some are expressing that there is no hope for their future because everyone in [in America] thinks of Latinos as criminals. Parents have made appointments with me to ask for advice on how to talk to their kids about the election and how to help ease their fears.”
Trump’s words are more than bluster and theatrics—they’re making an impression on kids across the country.
We’re better than this.