Presidential elections—like democracy—are messy. That’s especially true this year.
What’s also true is that presidential campaigns can teach children how to be engaged citizens. Young people learn about democracy by watching the debates, researching the issues and observing the adults around them.
This year, they’re absorbing a lot of negative messages.
Teaching Tolerance believes that everyone needs to talk about the election, explore the issues and weigh the candidates and their proposed policies. We believe that, despite the inflammatory tone of this year’s election cycle, we can have these conversations civilly and respectfully. We also believe most adults want to be their best selves in front of children.
Join us in speaking up for civility!
What You Can Do
As a school
Get the adults—educators, staff members, parents and guardians—on board. Ask them to agree to model good citizenship at school and at home. Download our “Speak Up for Civility” contract to share with others.
As a class
Use this brand-new student version of our Speak Up for Civility contract to help students take ownership of a respectful classroom.
As an individual
Decide that, even if everyone around you is shouting or name-calling, you’ll act with civility. Signal your resolve by signing our online pledge and downloading a copy to keep with you. Your information will not be shared.
I pledge to discuss this election with civility, to treat people whose opinions differ from mine with respect, and to focus on ideas, policies and values. I will encourage others to do the same. I will speak up when I hear name-calling, stereotypes and slurs. I will do this because children are listening, and it’s important that adults model good citizenship.
Teaching the Election
Teachers have told us what types of resources they need to overcome the obstacles related to teaching Election 2016, and we listened. We hope you find the resources linked below useful.