Monday, December 19, 2016
The Trump Effect: A Follow-up After Election Day
The Trump Effect: A Follow-up
After Election Day
With the 2016 election behind us and inauguration day right around the corner, schools are seeing the Trump Effect continue to be a present issue in their schools, classrooms, and communities.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has performed another online survey following the results of the November 2016 election in an attempt to gauge the mood of educators and students in our country. More than 10,000 teachers, counselors, administrators and others who work in schools responded and, “The survey data indicate that the results of the election are having a profoundly negative impact on schools and students.”
Ninety percent of respondents reported that the election results negatively impacted school climate and they believe that the effects will be long lasting. Eighty percent of respondents described concerns and heightened anxiety for students and families. Teachers reported that the issues they were describing were new and growing, “I have seen open racism, spoken, for the first time in 23 years of teaching.” stated a middle school teacher in Michigan. Another middle school teacher in Wisconsin stated, “I have never directly encountered race-related harassment in our school until after the election this year.” Most of these educators are reporting tension and fear among their students. Nearly 1,000 teachers reported fearing deportation, and family separation “as a concern among students.” Targeting and harassment has increased. A middle school counselor in Florida reported troubling events, “In a 24-hour period, I completed two suicide assessments and two threat of violence assessments for middle school students. This was last week, one week after the election... students were threatening violence against African Americans. Students were suicidal and without hope. Fights, disrespect have increased as well.” A kindergartner in Tennessee asked her teacher, “Are they going to do anything to me? Am I safe?” Communities are experiencing divisions opened by the election.
There were a small number of exceptions to the overwhelming responses of negative effects following the election. There was a very small minority of reports from teachers that there was little impact on their students or schools following the election. Students at a high school in Alabama stated that “regardless of who won, we are still in this country together and we will make the most of it. They really did not see that whoever won would make a difference in their lives.” A high school teacher in Idaho reported, “They reacted, but they moved on faster than the adults are.” Other schools that were able to report little impact in their communities reported that they had worked hard to establish “inclusive welcoming communities”. One California high school teacher reported that, “The students were devastated by the election results, as were most of our faculty and staff members. However, the darkness of the election brought us all closer together and in a positive and proactive way!”
The study detailed in this report was not scientific. Over 10,000 people responded to this survey and submitted over 25,000 comments. All participants of this study chose to participate. The results show a disturbing nationwide problem highlighted in the report as the following:
• Nine out of 10 educators who responded have seen a negative impact on students’ mood and behavior following the election; most of them worry about the continuing impact for the remainder of the school year.
• Eight in 10 report heightened anxiety on the part of marginalized students, including immigrants, Muslims, African Americans and LGBT students.
• Four in 10 have heard derogatory language directed at students of color, Muslims, immigrants and people based on gender or sexual orientation.
• Half said that students were targeting each other based on which candidate they’d supported.
• Although two-thirds report that administrators have been “responsive,” four out of 10 don’t think their schools have action plans to respond to incidents of hate and bias.
• Over 2,500 educators described specific incidents of bigotry and harassment that can be directly traced to election rhetoric. These incidents include graffiti (including swastikas), assaults on students and teachers, property damage, fights and threats of violence.
• Because of the heightened emotion, half are hesitant to discuss the election in class. Some principals have told teachers to refrain from discussing or addressing the election in any way.
Much like their pre-election survey participants responded to open ended questions where they could provide free responses and were asked if they agreed or disagreed with a number of statements. The list of questions can be found in the report at: http://www.tolerance.org/sites/default/files/u76079/Teaching%20Tolerance%20Post-Election%20Survey.pdf
Want to read the entire report, visit: