The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has surveyed more than 10,000 U.S. educators post-election about their experiences in the classroom and received more than 25,000 responses to a set of open-ended questions they asked. Among their findings:
Over 2,500 educators described specific incidents of bigotry and harassment that can be directly traced to election rhetoric. These incidents include graffiti (including swastikas), assaults on students and teachers, property damage, fights and threats of violence.
SPLC also provided a few examples of comments they received from teachers:
“I have seen open racism, spoken, for the first time in 23 years of teaching.” — MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHER, MICHIGAN
“I have never directly encountered race-related harassment in our school until after the election this year.” — MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHER, WISCONSIN
“There have been more fights in the first 10 weeks of this year than in the first 10 years of my career (this is my 11th year teaching).” — SECONDARY TEACHER, NEW YORK
“Words that I have not heard in the past — racist, bigot, pussy, slut — are now used by my fourth-graders.” — ELEMENTARY TEACHER, MINNESOTA
“This is my 21st year of teaching. This is the first time I’ve had a student call another student the ‘n’ word. This incident occurred the day after a conference with the offender’s mother. During the conference, the mother made her support of Trump known and expressed her hope that ‘the blacks’ would soon ‘know their place again.’” — ELEMENTARY TEACHER, GEORGIA
And perhaps most chilling, more than half of the respondents reported being hesitant to discuss the election in their classes. The U.S. presidential election is so divisive, so hot, so emotional that teachers are afraid to talk about it in schools. And worse:
Some principals have told teachers to refrain from discussing or addressing the election in any way.