The effects of 2016 presidential campaign have made their way into the classrooms and are having a “profoundly negative impact” on young children across the country, according to a report by civil rights non-profits Southern Poverty Law Center and Teaching Tolerance.
The online survey, conducted on nearly 2,000 teachers and school administrators between March 23 and April 2, claims that immigrant and Muslims children now have to suffer through increased fear, hatred bullying and anxiety— thanks in large part to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s unapologetic and derisive rhetoric.
The study calls it the “Trump Effect.”
“We’re deeply concerned about the level of fear among minority children who feel threatened by both the incendiary campaign rhetoric and the bullying they’re encountering in school,” said SPLC President Richard Cohen. “We’ve seen Donald Trump behave like a 12-year-old, and now we’re seeing 12-year-olds behave like Donald Trump.”
Although the problem is spread nationwide, it is particularly bad in schools with high concentrations of minority children.
The data collected by the researchers showed more than two-thirds of the teachers in the United States reporting their students – mainly immigrants and Muslims – expressing concerns about what might happen to them and their families after the November election.
“My students are terrified of Donald Trump,” explained a middle-school teacher. “They think that if he’s elected, all black people will get sent back to Africa.”
Moreover, more than half of the educators who participated in the study noticed an increase in “uncivil political discourse,” while more than third observed an increase in anti-Muslim or anti-immigrant attitude. In addition, more than 40 percent teachers are hesitant to teach about the election.
“Schools are finding that their anti-bullying work is being tested and, in many places, falling apart,” wrote Maureen Costello, author of the report. “Most teachers seem to feel they need to make a choice between teaching about the election or protecting their kids. In elementary school, half have decided to avoid it. In middle and high schools, we’re seeing more who have decided, for the first time, not to be neutral.”
This situation is not only unfair, it is deeply troubling. Violence against Muslims, African-Americans and other minority communities is on the rise in the United States. If Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric against anyone who is not born in America, isn’t white and does not follow Christianity is turning these young souls into hateful bigots, one can only imagine how worse the situation would get if he actually makes it to the Oval Office.
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