School climate worsens in wake of election, new report says

teaching_tolerance_chartTeachers describe an increase in the use of slurs and derogatory language, along with disturbing incidents involving swastikas, Nazi salutes and Confederate flags in the wake of November’s divisive election that saw Donald Trump rise to the presidency, according to a new report from the organization Teaching Tolerance.

The report cited more than 2,500 specific incidents of bigotry and harassment that it said can be directly traced to election rhetoric, including assaults on both students and teachers and acts of vandalism depicting hate symbols and speech.

The report – titled After Election Day, The Trump Effect: The Impact of the 2016 Presidential Election on Our Nation’s Schools – compiles the results of a survey taken by more than 10,000 educators following Donald Trump’s election and a divisive campaign that targeted racial, ethnic and religious minorities. In April, Teaching Tolerance released a similar report, The Trump Effect, which described how students and teachers were responding to the campaign rhetoric.

According to a summary by Teaching Tolerance:

The new report gauges the immediate impact of the November 8 election results in schools. Ninety percent of the educators surveyed indicated that school climate has been negatively affected by the results of the election, and most believe it will continue to affect their school for some time. Teachers also reported heightened anxiety among immigrant, Muslim, African-American and LGBT students.

One high school teacher in California reported that “someone anonymously put a swastika with the Trump tag line ‘Make American Great Again’ on the desk of a Spanish teacher.” Another teacher in Illinois wrote that the divide between her high-income white families and low-income Latino students has been “WAY worse” since the election.

The report also offers a set of recommendations to help school leaders manage student anxiety and combat hate speech and acts of bias. In short, these recommendations are:

  • Set the tone.
  • Take care of the wounded.
  • Double down on anti-bullying strategies.
  • Encourage courage.
  • Be ready for a crisis.

Teaching Tolerance – a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is dedicated to reducing prejudice and improving relations among school children across the country – says it will further analyze the survey results and use the data to shape its resources and offerings to K–12 teachers and others who work in schools. Visit Voting and Elections: Resources for a Civil Classroom to view a package of materials currently available to help educators navigate these troubling times.

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School climate worsens in wake of election, new report says

One high school teacher in California reported that “someone anonymously put a swastika with the Trump tag line ‘Make American Great Again’ on the desk of a Spanish teacher.”

Read summary from CNN:

Harassment in schools skyrockets after election, teachers report

In Oregon, a high school teacher photographed vandalism in the boys’ bathroom, which mentioned the KKK and used the n-word. In Tennessee, a black student was blocked from entering his classroom by two white students chanting, “Trump, Trump,” according to a high school teacher at the school where this happened.

Read the entire report:

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