Friday, April 15, 2016

Kids reacting to Trump bring fear and loathing to our schools

‘The Trump Effect’: Hatred, Fear And Bullying On The Rise In Schools

A new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center shines a light on a disturbing trend.


WASHINGTON - It was only a matter of time before kids started picking up the aggressive, divisive language that’s become a hallmark of the 2016 presidential campaign.

According to a new report by the nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center titled “The Trump Effect: The Impact of the Presidential Campaign on our Nation’s Schools,” the race is stoking fears and racial tensions in America’s classrooms.

...The report identified two troubling trends: more openly racist and vicious bullying of minorities, and more fear and anxiety among immigrants and minorities about what would happen to them if certain candidates for president are elected.
The survey did not name specific candidates, but teachers named Trump, the Republican front-runner, in more than 1,000 comments — five times more often than they mentioned any of the other candidates.
And for good reason: Trump’s xenophobic, populist rhetoric has brought the nation’s political discourse to new lows. When he’s not indirectly bragging about his genitalia or mocking disabled people, Trump has proposed banning Muslims from entering the country, embraced the use of war crimes to deal with terrorism suspects, and has accused Mexico of sending “rapists” to the United States.
The SPLC report also illustrates how American schoolchildren are adopting Trump’s overall tone — which so often includes name-calling and scapegoating. More than any specific policy proposal, teachers said, kids were expressing more hatred for more people.
“So many of my students have begun to show hatred towards refugees, low-income and poverty citizens, and there has been an increase in religious bias,” one teacher wrote. Scores of educators shared similar sentiments in the survey comments.
“There’s a sense that if someone doesn’t agree with you, it’s acceptable (even encouraged) to have hatred and anger towards them,” wrote another.
I can be neutral about Democrats and Republicans, but not about racists. Teacher’s comment to the Southern Poverty Law Center survey
Best known for tracking and combating hate groups and extremists, the SPLC has also expressed alarm about the support that Trump’s campaign is receiving from white nationalist groups.
Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke endorsed the real estate mogul earlier this year. Rather than denounce Duke outright on national TV, Trump hemmed and hawed, saying he would have to research Duke’s beliefs before commenting. Many viewed this as a dog-whistle appeal to conservative Southern voters, some of whom are still skeptical of racial integration.
Against the backdrop of such a venomous presidential campaign, teachers told the SPLC that they’re struggling with how to teach children what it means to debate respectfully, especially as the GOP race devolves into name-calling and trading insults about the rival candidate’s spouse.
The report also revealed how teachers feel torn between wanting to use the presidential election to teach civics and worrying about expressing personal political opinions to their students.
More than 40 percent of the teachers who filled out the survey said they were “hesitant to teach about the election.”...

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