The day after the presidential election, high schoolers in Illinois reportedly yelled things like “terrorist” and “pack your bags” at their immigrant classmates on the school bus, while a Jewish student at the same school was reportedly told, “We’ll burn you.”
That same day, a group of Hispanic girls at a high school in New Jersey told their homeroom teacher that another student had warned them that President-elect Donald Trump “was going to deport their families.”
Seventh-grade boys in Colorado were heard yelling “Heil Trump!,” and at an elementary school in Michigan, some Muslim girls have stopped wearing hijabs.
These are just a few of the 25,000-plus anecdotes submitted by more than 10,000 teachers, principals, counselors, administrators and others who work at K-12 schools around the country, in response to an online survey conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election.
Eighty percent reported that anxieties have intensified among African-Americans, immigrants, Muslims, LGBT and other marginalized students since the election, while four out of 10 respondents said they’ve heard students use derogatory language against their African-American, immigrant and Muslim classmates, as well as in relation to students’ gender or sexual orientation.
Half of the educators reported having observed students pick on one another over politics, and more than 2,500 described fights, violent threats and attacks on both teachers and students, property damage, derogatory graffiti, and other specific incidents of hate and harassment that appear directly linked to the election.
“My Mexican-American students have been catching comments from kids at school and in the community about being deported, etc.” wrote one high school teacher from New York. “We also had one student post a pro-Trump/anti-black meme that went to 600 other kids’ Instagram feeds. (The words he used are not printable here.)”
At an elementary school in Minnesota, there have been many fights between students since the election “as well as many more boys feeling superior to girls,” another teacher noted. “I have had one male student grab a female student’s crotch and tell her that it’s legal for him to do that to her now.”
The findings of this latest report echo those of
Though that earlier survey did not mention any particular candidates by name, the responses from more than 2,000 educators included far more references to Donald Trump than anyone else in the race.
As with the earlier survey, the SPLC notes in its report that the results of their post-election poll “are not scientific.” While open to any educator who might wish to answer, the questionnaire was primarily shared with those who subscribe to the Teaching Tolerance newsletter or follow the project’s social media accounts, as well as the audiences of a few other, like-minded groups.
As result, the report notes, “those who responded may have been more likely to perceive problems than those who did not.” Still, the SPLC insists, “it is the largest collection of educator responses that has been collected; the tremendous number of responses as well as the overwhelming confirmation of what has been anecdotally reported in the media cannot be ignored or dismissed.”
“Mr. Trump claims he’s surprised his election has unleashed a barrage of hate across the country,” SPLC President Richard Cohen said at a press conference Tuesday. “But he shouldn’t be. It’s the predictable result of the campaign he waged.”
In response to the findings of the Teaching Tolerance survey as well as a
“America is hurting right now, and all of us want to come together and feel safe,” Brenda Abdelall of Muslim Advocates, a legal advocacy organization that has been
A spokesperson for Trump did not respond to an immediate request for comment on this story, but as Cohen and others noted, the president-elect has thus far
“ Trump has claimed he’ll keep Americans safe and stand up for the little guy — but he refuses to speak up for the littlest guys — the children — who are being taunted and bullied in schools by kids who use his name as a weapon,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. “His [silence] … is deafening.”