Many of the immigrant students at a Baltimore high school are showing signs of increased anxiety after the election of Donald Trump, the Baltimore Sun reports.
“I listen all the time to Trump,” reporter Liz Bowie quoted a 16-year-old girl at Patterson High School as saying. Her El Salvadoran family’s court case is pending after their arrest two years ago upon entering the US. “I know what he say: all Latino people is criminals.”
Close to half of the students who attend the school are immigrants.
Reports from elsewhere in the US suggest a similar pattern, Emma Brown and other reporters in the Washington Post tell us.
For example, students at Council Rock North High School in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, vandalized toilet paper dispensers and stalls in the bathroom by drawing swastikas and writing the sentence, “If Trump wins, watch out!” In addition to the graffiti, a note with the comment “Go back to Mexico” was reportedly stuffed into a female student’s backpack at the school.
“I cannot emphasize strongly enough how inappropriate these actions are and that they simply will not be tolerated,” wrote Superintendent Robert J Fraser in a letter to parents. “We are better than this, and ours is a community that must be based upon mutual respect for ALL people.”
President-elect Trump tweeted that protesters were exercising their First Amendment rights, presumably referring to free speech. But hate speech, defacing school property, and the disruption of school operations aren’t protected under the First Amendment, and the words “watch out” are clearly a threat against a group of people.
We also find reports of chanting at a middle school in Royal Oak, Michigan. “Build the wall!” students chanted during a lunch period at Royal Oak Middle School, the Detroit Free Press reports. The paper quoted the principal of the school as saying, “This is not who we are.”
“Everyone is welcome in our community of learners,” said Todd Noonan, the principal. “We build bridges. We work together. We push each other, respect each other. We help each other. This is who we are.”
Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan expressed concern. “When kids are scared, when they ask hard questions, we need to really listen,” Politico quoted him as saying. “We don’t, and can’t, have all the answers, but we must listen.”
Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association, encouraged teachers to adopt the hashtag #ImTellingMyKids in discussing the fears of immigrant and minority students over the election of Donald Trump, whose campaign has somehow rekindled notions of white supremacy in many subgroups in the US.
“We must work every day to provide a counterbalance for our children—making sure that bullying is not normalized,” she wrote in a blog post.