The Trump Effect

Todd Potter, Sports Editor

A paper entitled “The Trump Effect: The Impact of the 2016 Election on the Nation’s Schools,” reports that teachers saw an increase in bullying directed towards immigrants, Muslims, and others who Donald Trump targeted in his campaign.  

  The study, conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance Program, surveyed teachers from March 31 to April 2, 2016.  The SPLC asked them if they had seen the rhetoric of the 2016 election affect in their students and to describe it.

  According to the report, “in the course of a week, almost 2,000 people responded to the survey.  Collectively, they submitted over 5,000 comments.”

  The report said that immigrant and Muslim students as well as their families feared that they might get deported.  Many teachers said anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment in schools increased.  African American students feared they were going to be “sent back to Africa.”  Some students used Trump’s name as a threat.  

  Alanna Tran (11) suggested that Trump has changed children’s definition of a leader, especially considering he won the presidency while insulting others.

  “Children see the kind of language that he uses on television so they think it’s okay to use it too.  Children are seeing that someone who uses harmful language and incites fear is seen as a leader.”

  However, SPLC’s report is basically anecdotal and is not nationally representative.  The teachers who had answered the survey were already in contact with the SPLC and therefore more likely to be concerned with racial issues.  

  Adrianne Bunye (11) believed that Trump has not increased the amount of bullying, but bullies have mimicked Trump due to the media’s focus on him.  

  “I do not believe that Trump has increased the levels of bullying more so that bullies just found another way to attack kids.  Bullying has always been an issue, but this time it uses Trump.  The same case has happened with cyberbullying several years back.  Bullying simply found a new medium to hurt other kids.  I think that the media’s focus on Trump and an increase in racial insults have caused people to believe in the Trump Effect” Bunye (11).

  Now, with Trump as the President Elect, students and teachers wait and see if this means four more years of Trump-themed bullying.