Their teachers don’t know what to do.
BuzzFeed News researched over 50 reports of school bullying that has taken place since the election last November and found that kids across the country are apparently using Trump’s own divisive and intolerant words to bully other children.
And their teachers don’t know what to do about the growing problem. The way these kids see it, if the president is saying those things, then it must be okay for them to.
“It’s unacceptable and it reflects a wider climate of hate that we’re seeing.”
Said Antonio Lopez, a school official in Portland, Oregon. This Spring Lopez unveiled a plan to track racially based bullying among students in his school district, arguing that it is critically important to stop racist and hateful speech as early in a child’s education and development as possible.
Because of the unprecedented amount of racial and ethnic rhetoric coming from Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, school bullying has taken the disconcerting turn of including racial bullying, with some white students using the president’s own rhetoric and slogans to bully Latino, Middle Eastern, black, Asian, and Jewish classmates.
In BuzzFeed’s comprehensive post election review of racially based bullying in schools, the news organization has confirmed over 50 separate incidents spanning 26 states in which a K-12 student invoked Donald Trump’s name or platform in an attempt to bully another student during the past school year.
In one such incident in Shakopee, Minnesota, high school boys wearing Donald trump shirts surrounded a black high school girl and sang “The Star Spangled Banner,” replacing the ending line “and the home of the brave,” with the words:
“O’er the land of the free and the home of the slaves.”
One white eighth-grader in San Antonio Texas told a Filipino classmate:
“You are going to be deported.”
In a classroom in Brea, California, a white eight-grader was overheard telling a black classmate:
“Now that Trump won, you’re going to have to go back to Africa, where you belong.”
In a San Carlos, California highschool hallway, one white student told two mixed race girls to:
“Go back home to whatever country you’re from.”
In Louisville, Kentucky, a boy in the third grade chased a Latina girl around the classroom while shouting:
“Build the wall!”
After a high school football game in Jacksonville, Florida, white students in a stadium parking lot taunted black students from the other school by chanting:
“Donald Trump! Donald Trump! Donald Trump!”
On an elementary school playground in Albuquerque, New Mexico, third grade students surrounded a boy and harassed him with shouts of:
“Trump! Trump! Trump!”
These beginnings of political awareness among students, and their budding sense of how to behave and treat other people, will have consequences that outlast their time in grade school. There are kids in high school today who will be voting in 2020. Today’s fifth graders will even be voting in 2024.
We are now being confronted with how the normalization of racial intolerance and divisive identity politics is affecting the social development and moral compass of our nation’s children.