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, we released a similar report, The Trump Effect, which described how students and teachers were responding to the campaign rhetoric.
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.
The teachers described an increase in the use of slurs and derogatory language, along with disturbing incidents involving swastikas, Nazi salutes and Confederate flags. The report also cited more than 2,500 specific incidents of bigotry and harassment that can be directly traced to election rhetoric, including assaults on both students and teachers and acts of vandalism depicting hate symbols and speech.
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 online survey is not scientific but offers a wealth of information and insight about the post-election school climate. Participants included teachers from nearly all states and the District of Columbia. According to the report, those who responded may have been more likely to perceive problems than those who did not. It was distributed among several organizations that reach a large teacher population, including the American Federation of Teachers.
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 will further analyze the survey results and use the data to shape our 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.
- After Election Day, The Trump Effect: The Impact of the 2016 Presidential Election on Our Nation’s Schools
- The Trump Effect: The Impact of the Presidential Campaign on Our Nation’s Schools
- The Trump Effect
- School Administrators: Are You Ready?
- Letters to the Editor
- Polarized Classrooms
- A Need to Speak: Teaching About the 2016 Election
- Toolkit for In Bounds
- Expelling Islamophobia