Harassment in schools skyrockets after election, teachers report

This article follows up the multiple reports of verbal harassment in the days following the Presidential election. Donald Trump’s bigoted campaign and eventual victory has confirmed racist notions that previously wouldn’t be expressed as often and explicitly.  Just to name a few examples this report covers; students in Kansas chanted, “Trump won, you’re going back to Mexico,” to students from other countries, in Oregon, a high school teacher photographed vandalism in the boys’ bathroom, which mentioned the KKK and used the n-word, and in Tennessee, a black student was blocked from entering his classroom by two white students chanting, “Trump, Trump”. Over 10,000 teachers reported incidents such as these through the Southern Poverty Law center website. There were a reported 2,500 negative incidents of bigotry and harassment that mimicked Donald Trump’s rhetoric.

However these taunts and incidents of harassment don’t come without a cost. Approximately 80 percent of educators who responded with these claims said they noticed heightened anxiety from minorities in their classrooms. One of the teachers that responded noted that in her school teachers were discouraged from speaking up about these incidents and encouraged to downplay them- leaving students who were targeted hopeless, and suicidal.

In class we’ve talked about the ramifications and cultural shifts that Donald Trump’s victory allowed for. This hyper-agression from his supporters present a real problem for students of color and the response from school administrations show that the problem has an institutionalized element to it. Rather than acknowledging a problem, the school boards thought the appropriate conduct for these situations is to turn the other way. Furthermore, creating incentive and reason for these aggressor students to conduct themselves in ways that jeopardize the mental health of other minority students.



2 thoughts on “Harassment in schools skyrockets after election, teachers report”

  1. Seeing all these reports on these types of incidents pop up on my Facebook feed in large amounts after the election made me so furious and sad at the same time. The hate speech that has been tossed around in and out of schools against groups of color and Muslims emulates the same type of eugenic rhetoric that we’ve encountered in class. Additionally, in our digital age, such hate speech is easily transmittable. However, a positive outcome of social technology is the ability for communities to collaborate with each other. For example, I saw a lot of Facebook posts providing resources for transgender and undocumented individuals that detailed necessary document procedures they should follow through with before Trump goes into office. To say the least, there is a lot to be done in order for us to deal with what will come about from this presidency.

  2. Nemo, this report is devastating. I’ve been following such cases since the election, which has no doubt emboldened racist individuals and institutions alike. The impact of racism on minority students’ wellbeing–anxiety, hopelessness, even suicide–speaks directly to our in-class discussions. Echoing Matthew: as an anti-racist educator, it makes me very very sad when classrooms become sites of trauma for students of color.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *