Unless something happens between now and January, Donald J. Trump is going to be the 45th president of the United States. And whether you're celebrating his win or questioning the legitimacy of it (thanks, electoral college), it's so important to remember that our children are watching our actions and listening to every word we speak. Sadly, the recent wave of post-election bullying and shaming in classrooms around the US proves children are mimicking what they see at home and hear on TV. To think about a child or teenager spewing such hate toward a classmate is horrifying and unacceptable, but it's happening.
There has been so much hateful intimidation and harassment across the country -- more than 200 incidents counted by the Southern Poverty Law Center -- since Trump was named president-elect, and that's pretty bad considering the election happened last week. Schools, of course, are no exception. From students targeting Muslims to spray-painting detestable and racially charged messages for all to see, these incidents will make you question what country you live in and what we really need to do to make it "great again."
Whether or not this hate has always existed in schools is up for debate, but it's undeniable these kids are latching onto the rhetoric and ideas that have been thrown around during the past few months. And that's scary.
The examples below don't even include recent events on college campuses -- like the swastika drawn outside a SUNY Geneseo residence hall; the vandalized Muslim prayer room at NYU; a Latina student's roommate "building a wall" to divide their dorm room; a man threatening to light a Muslim student on fire; a black doll hanging by a noose at Canisius College; and so, so much more.
1. Handing out "deportation notices."
It's pretty sad that anyone would think families being deported or separated makes for a good joke ... but here we are. In California, a Shasta High School student handed out fake "Deportation Orders" shortly after Trump's election victory -- even sharing a video of his personal immigration reform on Snapchat (it was deleted). The student reportedly used remarks like "Got him" and referred to one of his recipients as "another French one," and the Shasta Union School District, which wouldn't confirm the incident was related to the election (really?), is looking into the matter and taking it very seriously.
2. "Build a wall" lunchtime chant.
Middle schoolers enjoyed chanting "Build a wall!" in the cafeteria at Royal Oak Middle School in Michigan just one day after the election. And while it's not clear whether or not the rallying cry was intended for one specific person, ABC News reports the chant continued once school was let out.
3. "Hang yourself" Islamophobic note.
An anonymous student in Georgia left a Muslim teacher a disturbing Islamophobic note indicating headscarves are no longer allowed. Dacula High School teacher Mairah Teli shared this unthinkable note on Facebook that reads, "Your head scarf isn't allowed anymore. Why don't you tie it around your neck and hang yourself with it off your neck instead of your head. America!"
It's so heartbreaking a student would feel inspired to write something like this to his or her teacher. This just shows that many kids are suffering and are sadly expressing their emotions in unhealthy ways.
4. Beaten up for "voting" Trump.
Mock elections are meant to get students interested in politics, not make them a target for inconceivable acts. An 11-year-old boy was kicked and punched for voting for Trump during a mock election at Stafford Elementary in Texas. The unnamed student said he was assaulted after a group of boys asked the other kids in class who voted for Donald Trump.
"And then I said, 'I did.' And then they come over here and jerked me out of my seat. Before I could get up they started kicking me and punching me," the 11-year-old told Fox 26 Houston.
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5. "White power" hallway march.
Yup, this really happened. Three students from York County School of Technology in Pennsylvania have been suspended after video surfaced of boys shouting "White power" as they walked down the school's hallway holding up a Trump-Pence campaign sign. There are also reports that students of color were harassed.
1. At York Tech High School in PA white students literally walked down the hall chanting "white power" while holding Donald Trump signs. pic.twitter.com/vk8h0uKcD4— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) November 10, 2016
6. To the back of the bus.
In case anyone forgot, all people have the right to sit wherever they'd like on a public bus. New York resident Adriana Medina shared a harrowing Facebook post of texts from her school-age sister who was harassed on a bus by girls at the St. Francis Preparatory in Queens, New York. Medina wrote:
I was on the bus and this group of girls from St. Francis Prep get on. They look around and looked at me and said 'Aren't you people suppose [sic] to be sitting in the back of bus?'
I looked around and saw that there were mainly black and Hispanic people sitting in the middle of the the bus. I asked this girl to repeat herself and she says
'Aren't you supposed to be sitting in the back of the bus now? Like Trump is president!'
7. Bathroom walls of hate.
Anti-Semitism shamefully appears to be alive and well. Westland Middle School in Maryland has reported vandalized boys' bathrooms with hand-drawn swastikas (they have since been removed) days after the election. Disturbed by the images, school officials released a statement to students' parents reassuring them anti-Semitism of any kind will not be tolerated. "We are very saddened by this incident. This type of behavior will not be tolerated. Once the culprit(s) are identified, consequences will be administered in accordance with the MCPS Student Code of Conduct," wrote Alison L. Serino, the Westland Middle School principal.
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There was also a similar incident at Maple Grove Senior High School in Minnesota. As you can see, someone wrote racist and vulgar messages in a bathroom that included "F*ck ni**ers," "Trump," and "Whites only."
As frightening as these incidents are, there has also been an outpouring of kind words and actions from teachers across the country who are trying to mend hearts for the sake of peace.
Katie Nagy is a first-grade teacher who is reminding her students to be kind and look out for each other.
This teacher is urging her students to speak up if they see something wrong, writing:
We will stand united as a school community, and that we will protect one another. Silence is dangerous, and I beg you to speak up when something is wrong. Speak up, love one another, understand each other, solve conflicts, live with diverse and sometimes conflicting ideals, and carry the skills to enter a world that doesn't know how to do this.
My 7th period teacher wrote a letter on the reflection of the election. Please read itâï¿½ï¿½ pic.twitter.com/IHiwzKo0g4— New Orleansâï¿½ï¿½ (@_king3__) November 9, 2016
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Philadelphia third-grade teacher Jasmyn Wright is encouraging her class to "push through" and stay hopeful, no matter how confusing or uncomfortable the election results might be for some.
President-elect Donald Trump recently commented on these hateful events when it was brought to his attention. Speaking with 60 Minutes for the first time since the election, Trump had no idea there were so many incidents of discrimination happening across the country.
"I am so saddened to hear that. And I say, 'Stop it.' If it helps, I will say this, and I will say right to the camera: 'Stop it,'" Trump tells Lesley Stahl on the show. He needs to keep saying that, though. He needs to truly and effectively denounce the hate.
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This is an issue that involves all of us because it's about our babies -- the next generation. No matter your political affiliation or the box you check on the Census, we need to be in this together and show our kids that hating others is not the way.
We need action. We need healing. We need change -- right now.