According to The Daily Beast, the Southern Poverty Law Center has published a new study which confirms that the presidential election is having a negative impact on the nation’s youth.
The online survey drew information from 10,000 educators, such as teachers and counselors, 90 percent of whom reported that their school’s climate has been negatively affected by Donald Trump’s election. The study covered all school-age children, from kindergarten through high school.
The survey, which was conducted after Election Day, was accompanied by a report titled “The Trump Effect” that was published on the Southern Poverty Law Center website on Monday.
Eighty percent of educators described “heightened anxiety and concern on the part of students worried about the impact of the election on themselves and their families” particularly for marginalized students, immigrants, African Americans, Muslims, and LGBT students. One middle school teacher reported that they heard a student blurt out “I hate Muslims” during a discussion of major religions, as a case in point.
This uptick of incidents post-Election Day includes verbal harassment, derogatory language, and white supremacist-related instances of Nazi salutes, swastika graffiti, and Confederate flags.
Overall, 2,500 incidents of this sort of bullying were reported. There are several first-person accounts included in the report which give examples of some of these incidents involving racism directly related to Trump’s rhetoric. A high school teacher in Georgia said, “I’ve had a lot of students repeat the phrase ‘Trump that b****’ in my class, and make jokes about Hispanic students ‘going back to Mexico.’
Over 2,500 educators described specific incidents of bigotry & harassment that can be directly traced to election rhetoric. #TrumpEffect— SPLC (@splcenter) November 29, 2016
Another high school teacher in Washington state reported that “this is the first year [in over 15 years of teaching] that swastikas are appearing all over school furniture.”
Five out of 10 teachers reported that they were “hesitant to discuss the election in class.” In some instances, school principals have cautioned teachers to avoid talking about the election in the classroom. It’s unfortunate to hear that the overall response to the election is so emotionally charged that the event can’t even be discussed in some classes.
“The takeaway message is first of all that school administrators and school board members and anyone who has to do with education has a crisis on their hands,” said the director of Teaching Tolerance, Maureen Costello.
The Trump Effect began long before Election Day for schoolchildren across the country, but according to this study, Trump’s actual election has only made school environments more hostile for marginalized students.
Banner photo: Reuters