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NEA to Campaign Against Trump for National Bullying Prevention Month

NEA to Campaign Against Trump for National Bullying Prevention Month

The nation’s largest teachers union, the National Education Association, is preparing to launch an aggressive campaign against Republican candidate Donald Trump this month in an attempt to make use of the last month before the election as well as to coincide with National Bullying Prevention Month.

The NEA, which has supported Hillary Clinton since last year, will argue in its campaign that Trump increases bullying, fear and safety concerns within American’s classrooms.

During a tele-briefing yesterday, NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia announced the campaign and the reasoning behind it.

"Donald Trump sets an example that teaches the wrong lesson. He calls women fat pigs, wants to ban Muslims from coming to the country, refers to Mexicans as criminals and makes fun of people with disabilities,” she said.

"The rise in vitriolic speech in classrooms and the anxiety this causes for some of our most vulnerable students shows that Trump’s rhetoric is far more damaging than previously imagined.”

The NEA press release brings up a study which will likely be the focal point of its campaign; a study from the Southern Poverty Law Center that used data from an online survey to find that the majority of teachers are concerned about the ‘Trump Effect,’ or the aggressive rhetoric Trump has created throughout his campaign that is increasing bullying in schools.

This effect, SPLC found, is causing over 40 percent of educators to be hesitant to bring up the current election in the classroom at all due to difficult subject matter.

"Our report found that the campaign is producing an alarming level of fear and anxiety among children of color and inflaming racial and ethnic tensions in the classroom. Many students worry about being deported,” the SPLC said.

As part of its campaign, NEA is talking to educators across the country who have witnessed how the Trump Effect is negatively affecting their classrooms.

"During a classroom conversation about the Electoral College, one of my students said something that broke my heart. Before the entire class, my student made a startling statement: ‘If Donald Trump wins, I’ll be sent back to Peru,” said Ohio educator Joy Bock in the NEA’s statement.

"I want to be very clear, this 14-year old girl is an American citizen, born in the United States. She has never been to Peru, the country her parents immigrated from. My student told our class that her parents said, ‘it will not be safe’ if Donald Trump becomes president. She shared how scared her family is about the election. Now all of my students are worried that she will be sent 'back.' This very real anxiety and fear I work to calm on a daily basis is not an isolated incident.”

The NEA will use the month of October, or National Bullying Prevention Month, to drive the point home that not electing Trump is an effort to prevent bullying in schools.

"We see the psychological impact bullying has on our youth. Donald Trump takes that to a new and horrifying level. That’s not the kind of role model our children need to see in the White House,” Eskelen Garcia concluded.

Read the full release here.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

10/4/2016

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