The 2016 election…what can one say? Neither presidential candidate is very well liked, yet one is touting a dangerous message of hate and intolerance. This message is already affecting our children.
“The Trump Effect”
Dubbed the “Trump Effect”, schools around the country are experiencing in increase in fear and hate amongst their student body. From kindergarten to high school, no one is immune.
Alternet cites a few examples:
“My students are terrified of Donald Trump,” reports a teacher from a middle school with a large African-American Muslim population. “They think that if he’s elected, all black people will get sent back to Africa.”
Another educator from a Tennessee school says a Latino kindergartener was told by his peers that he will be deported and barricaded behind a wall. “Is the wall here yet?” he asks daily.
One teacher reports that a fifth-grader told a Muslim student “he was supporting Donald Trump because he was going to kill all of the Muslims if he became president.”..
Teachers report that the harmful impact on young people is overwhelming, with more than two-thirds saying that students—particularly those who are Muslim, children of immigrants or immigrants themselves—express “concerns or fears about what might happen to them or their families after the election.”http://www.alternet.org/grayzone-project/trump-effect-schools-how-trumps-hate-speech-traumatizing-americas-children
At a high school basketball game in Indiana, students chanted, “Build the wall” at their hispanic opponents.http://educationvotes.nea.org/2016/04/13/trump-hate-rhetoric-fuels-rise-in-school-racial-ethnic-tensions-educator-survey/
Whether fueling fear of deportation or intolerance for religious and ethnic diversity, the rhetoric of this campaign needs to be discussed with our children.
2016 Election Educational Resources
Helping children understand the issues behind the inflammatory speeches of the 2016 election is the first step. Immigration is a complex issue affecting anyone wanting to live in the US, no matter their ethnicity or religious beliefs.
Teaching Tolerance has many resources to help parents and educators.
10 Myths About Immigration Unravel misconceptions about immigrants and immigration with this short list. (middle and high school)
Using Photographs to Expose Anti-Immigrant SentimentThis structured lesson helps students analyze hot-button media messages safely and expertly. (middle and high school)
An Educator’s Guide to the Immigration Debate The guide and accompanying toolkit provide background knowledge and tips for teaching about the history of immigration in the United States. (high school)
The Truth About American Muslims This guide will answer your students’ questions about Sharia law, religious clothing and whether Islam is a political movement. (high school and adult)
Religious Diversity Webinars We teamed up with the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding to produce this on-demand webinar series for teaching about religion across grade levels. (professional development)
Lesson on Religious Clothing These lessons help students learn the significance of traditional religious clothing and its meaning to the people who wear it. (all grades)
Zahrah’s Hijab To inspire your students’ empathy, share the story of how Zahrah responded to teasing about her hijab. Free registration required; then search for “hijab” in the Central Text Anthology. (elementary)
Sikhtoons Sikh cartoonist Vishavjit Singh uses art and humor to challenge people to see the person beneath the turban. Free registration required; then search for “Sikh” in the Central Text Anthology. (upper elementary, middle and high school)http://www.tolerance.org/election2016
As a teacher, it can be difficult to discuss politics without expressing one’s own preferences. Focussing on the issues of the 2016 election will help children form their own opinions when they hear adults and politicians speaking. Helping students discern between policy differences and hate speech will let them draw their own conclusions.
I remember when I first became interested in politics. I am watching my children’s interest similarly unfold.
Our teachers and parents have a huge influence on our beliefs and values. Through education, I was able to form my own opinions.
It may be impossible to be completely unbiased when it comes to discussing the 2016 election; however, we can help children understand the issues without promoting stereotypes, prejudices, and fear.
Image: rzdigger / Pixabay