President Donald Trump has a tendency to strike back at his critics in the meanest ways possible — be it calling Academy Award-winning actress Meryl Streep “over-rated” or giving his political rivals cruel nicknames reminiscent of middle school, like “lyin’ Ted,” “cryin’ Chuck” and “crooked Hillary”, the president has an uncanny ability to offend people with his juvenile words.
Even before he won the election, Trump constantly made headlines for his sexism, misogyny, racism and xenophobia. His behavior did not improve even after his victory, but instead emboldened bigots across the country to follow their new leader’s example and torment those whom the business mogul openly targeted during his contentious presidential campaign: immigrants, people of color and Muslims, mostly.
In the current politically charged climate, it is not easy to keep children away from what is going on in the country. Considering how presidents are supposed to be role models for young people, it should not have come as a surprise that Trump’s actions and words would also encourage schoolchildren to turn into little bullies, harassing their peers — especially the ones who belong to minority communities.
In a recently published analysis, BuzzFeed News reviewed hundreds of reports submitted to ProPublica’s Documenting Hate project, which is a hate crime database, and confirmed more than 50 incidents where kids mimicked the president as an intimidation tactic.
“On a school bus in San Antonio, Texas, a white eighth-grader said to a Filipino classmate, ‘You are going to be deported.’ In a classroom in Brea, California, a white eighth-grader told a black classmate, ‘Now that Trump won, you're going to have to go back to Africa, where you belong,’” the outlet reported. “In the hallway of a high school in San Mateo County, California, a white student told two biracial girls to ‘go back home to whatever country you're from.’ In Louisville, Kentucky, a third-grade boy chased a Latina girl around the classroom shouting ‘Build the wall!’”
Apparently, children have also been chanting POTUS’ name to threaten others.
For instance, following a high school football game in Jacksonville, Florida, white students reportedly chanted “Donald Trump! Donald Trump! Donald Trump!” at black students from the opposing school. Similarly, third-graders at an elementary school in Albuquerque, New Mexico, allegedly surrounded a boy and yelled, “Trump! Trump! Trump!”
In a separate incident in Minnesota, three teenage boys wearing Trump T-shirts were accused of surrounding a black student and changing the closing lines of “The Star-Spangled Banner” to “the land of the free, and the home of the slaves.”
This kind of behavior is being observed all across the country — not just in the states that voted heavily for Trump, according to the report.
It’s a whole new level of hate speech and educators are apparently struggling to deal with it.
“It’s unacceptable and it reflects a wider climate of hate that we’re seeing,” Antonio Lopez, an assistant school superintendent in Portland, Oregon, told BuzzFeed News as Brent Emmons, principal of Hood River Middle School in Oregon called it “a delicate tightrope to walk.”
“This is my 21st year in education and I’ve never seen a situation like this before,” he said. “It’s not my role to tell people how to think about political policies, but it is my role to make sure every kid feels safe at the school.”
It’s scary to think these are the future voters who would decide the fate of the country.
What’s even worse is that some parents tend to get upset when school informs them of their child’s inappropriate and racist behavior.
“What is so ‘racist’ about the quote?” one parent was quoted as saying, while another claimed, “Quoting the POTUS is never inappropriate!”
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters