Virginians speak out against Trump bullying

donald trumpAs students across Virginia head back to school, concerned teachers and school board members are speaking out against Donald Trump’s divisive politics of anger, fear and bullying following Trump’s hateful speech on Wednesday, in which he pledged to forcibly deport every undocumented immigrant from our country.

The teachers and school board members expressed their support for Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine’s vision for an inclusive America that is stronger together, which stands in stark contrast to Trump’s dangerous and divisive candidacy.

Trump’s campaign has mainstreamed hate, while Trump himself once mocked an American with a disability, and has regularly made vulgar and insulting statements about women, calling them “fat pigs,” “dogs” and “disgusting.” He has proposed banning Muslims from the country, and doubled down this week on his anti-immigrant policies that would tear families apart.

Trump has encouraged violence at his own rallies, and has even attacked a Virginia Gold Star family. One survey showed that such vitriolic language in the electoral process has a negative impact on our children and schools. The Southern Poverty Law Center has concluded the “Trump effect” is helping to create “an alarming level of fear and anxiety” in children and “inflaming racial and ethnic tensions” in America’s classrooms.

See what Virginia’s teachers and school board members are saying:

“The Golden Rule of showing respect and dignity to others – taught to kids at an early age – must be exemplified by our nation’s leaders,” said Manassas City Schools Chairman Tim Demeria. “Donald Trump does not seem to understand that his insults and repeated attacks against women and communities of color serve as a dangerous example to our children.”

“As an educator, I shudder to hear the hateful language and divisive actions that Donald Trump barrages us with daily,” said Charlottesville City School Board member Amy Laufer. “Trump’s words and actions undermine the hard work that educators are doing to teach inclusiveness and understanding of other cultures.”

“There is enough negative rhetoric on Muslims in the United States.  It does not help Americans to have a person running for one of the most powerful positions in the world denounce an entire group of people based on their religion,” said Mechanicsville teacher Afreen Y. Gootee. “This does not teach tolerance and acceptance to our children, especially when the country in which they live was based on religious freedom.”

“Donald Trump insults and bullies anyone who disagrees with him,” said Galax City School Board member Helen Kyle. “As a presidential candidate, we have to ask what kind of example is he setting for our children. Our children and our country deserve better.”

“There is so much at stake in this election. Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine offer a vision for an inclusive America that is stronger together, which teaches our kids the values of acceptance and working together,” said Arlington County School Board member James Lander. “Donald Trump’s bigotry and hate has no place in our schools or our country.”

“Donald Trump’s bullying rhetoric and divisive policies have a negative impact on our children and schools,” said Henrico County School Board member Roscoe Cooper III. “Hillary Clinton has spent her life fighting for children and families and we can trust that she will do the same as president.”

“Donald Trump says people are ‘tired of spending money on education,’ and has pledged to squander precious resources that could go to schools on a wall between US and Mexico that could cost upwards of $4 trillion,” said Arlington teacher Jaim Foster. “How reckless—to ignore the needs of our youngest learners to make a political statement.”

“We wouldn’t let our children or students act the way Donald Trump does,” said Richmond City School Board member Kimberly Gray. “Trump’s bullying rhetoric, bigotry and normalization of  hate makes him temperamentally unfit to serve as president.”

“In our schools we teach our students about the values of teamwork, looking out for others, and treating others the way we want to be treated,” said Alexandria City School Board member Chris Lewis. “Throughout his career, Donald Trump has set the opposite example, only looking out for himself, often at the expense of others.”

“My Civics class last year was serendipitously learning about the 14th amendment and definition of citizenship last fall several days after Mr. Trump first broached the subject of denying birthright citizenship. It prompted a quite vigorous discussion with lots of participation and students really thinking through their positions before speaking, especially because two of my students were Hispanic,” said Spotsylvania teacher Peter Pfotenhauer. “One approached me afterwards to ask shyly if I thought if he was elected that would mean she would lose her citizenship because when she was born in the USA her parents were not citizens. She was genuinely concerned about her status, and could see the implications such a change would have for our future.”

“Donald Trump’s bigotry and hate stands in stark contrast to Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine’s vision for an America that is stronger together,” said Fairfax County School Board member Ilryong Moon. “Clinton and Kaine’s vision that welcomes our diversity is so important for the students in my Fairfax County Public Schools district as they grow to become future leaders in the global community. There is so much at stake in this election – for our schools, and our country, the choice is clear.”

“Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine value children and they know that words matter. I shudder to imagine four years of Donald Trump constantly belittling our students, their parents, their teachers, and their friends,” said Arlington County School Board member Barbara Kanninen. “That’s no way to value children and a terrible way to run the country.”

“Here in Virginia, we have high expectations academically and socially for our students,” said Charlottesville City School Board member Jennifer McKeever. “These divisive comments and the anxiety that they produce in our students are unacceptable and divert focus from the truly important concerns in our education system.”


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