American Federation of Teachers
Friday, November 18, 2016
Contact: Janet Bass

Labor, Civil Rights, Faith Groups Call on Trump to Denounce Hate-Fueled Acts

Letter to Trump: “We ask you to use your position, your considerable platform and even your tweets to send a clear message that hate has no place in our public discourse, in our public policy or in our society.”WASHINGTON—Labor, civil rights and faith leaders and others called on President-elect Donald Trump today to unequivocally denounce the hundreds of hate-fueled acts of harassment, vandalism, property destruction and even assault that have happened since his election.

During the campaign, Trump's style was to bully, intimidate and use racist, bigoted and sexist language. He made proposals and used language that helped create a divisive and polarizing environment, which found an audience with those who would use differences to divide Americans. Trump’s victory has further emboldened people, leading to daily reports of individuals and groups committing hate incidents.

Speaking at a news conference Friday were American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten; the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II; Maureen Costello of the Southern Poverty Law Center; Nancy Zirkin of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; Austin McCoy, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan; and Scott Kasten, a Minneapolis teacher.

More than 100 groups, representing more than 10 million people, have signed on to a letter to the president-elect from the AFT’s Weingarten and the SPLC’s Costello calling on him to denounce the hate acts and the ideology that is driving them. The letter was delivered to the president-elect this morning.

“While you spoke against bullying, intimidation and hate crimes in your ‘60 Minutes’ interview, the appointment of ‘alt-right’ hero Steve Bannon as your chief strategist, which has been cheered by the Ku Klux Klan, the American Renaissance and other white supremacist groups, sends the exact opposite message,” the letter said. “We ask you to use you position, your considerable platform and even your tweets to send a clear message that hate has no place in our public discourse, in our public policy or in our society.”

AFT President Weingarten said, “This is not a political matter; this is a matter of moral responsibility. Acceptance, inclusion and the right to live without fear of bullying, intimidation or assault should be a common bond for all of us. America in 2016 can’t allow the normalization of hate. That is why we stand with so many others, calling on the president-elect to act and to demonstrate leadership and moral responsibility by vigorously and unequivocally denouncing these acts of hate to help end the dangerous and divisive environment that was created during the campaign and in its aftermath.”

Weingarten said the AFT plans to set up a support and resource hotline for people to report incidents and be directed to experts for guidance and counseling. She also said educators and others can find lessons and other materials on topics including bullying, grief, and the election and its meaning, for free on the AFT’s Share My Lesson website, is external).

The Rev. Barber, president of Repairers of the Breach and architect of the Moral Mondays movement, said Trump must repent and take responsibility.

“Mr. Trump’s campaign has been one of unbounded vulgarity against people of color, immigrants, women and people of different faiths. He must repent, take responsibility and challenge those who have been emboldened by his words, and he must also change the direction of his policies that undermine the cause of justice and civil rights. Anything less than this will continue the deep distrust and apprehension we have regarding his presidency,” Barber said.

Maureen Costello, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance program, said, “There’s no denying it—the election has had a profound and lasting impact on our nation’s schoolchildren for the worse. Now is the time for educators and anyone who cares about kids to repair the damage and ensure that all children feel welcome in their schools and communities.”

Lily Eskelsen Garcia, president of the National Education Association, said, “Educators are witnessing firsthand the hate speech and hostile acts inspired by Donald Trump’s rhetoric directed at our students. All students have a right to feel welcome and valued in our schools and deserve safe learning environments. Trump must call for an end to the toxic rhetoric and violent incidents now and commit to the values that unite us: respect, kindness and dignity.”

# # # #

The AFT represents 1.6 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.

For Immediate Release: November 14, 2016
For more information contact: Fernanda Durand

Harassment of Immigrants/Students of Color on the Rise

LANGLEY PARK, MD (NOVEMBER 14, 2016) _ Since the election of Donald Trump as President, CASA has received complaints of harassment, bullying, and physical intimidation in public schools ranging from Stafford County, Virginia to York, Pennsylvania. We are calling for Republican leaders, including President elect Donald Trump, to repudiate such actions and emphasize that such behavior will not be tolerated in this country.

“We hope the Republican Party and community leaders will take a stand against such acts and work to stop these actions,” said CASA’s Executive Director Gustavo Torres.

In some school districts, administration officials have responded immediately and positively, reaching out directly to parents and reiterating school policies and complaint processes.

CASA applauds school leaders such as Prince George’s CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell, who sent letters home to parents reiterating the system’s commitment to celebrate all students regardless of immigration status, religion, race, and ethnicity and urging parents to continue sending students to school.

Similarly, Baltimore County CEO Dr. Dallas Dance has been attacked by Republican legislators for merely retweeting a supportive statement to students.

In Silver Spring, Maryland, a church was vandalized with pro-Trump signs. At the Episcopal Church of Our Saviour a banner advertising the church’s Spanish-language service was slashed, and the words “Trump nation. Whites only” were written on the back.

In Pennsylvania, a CASA member was told by a co-worker that they were glad Trump won and that they should start getting ready to leave.

The spate of attacks at schools is just one more reminder that words have consequences and the souring of political discourse is heard most immediately by young people. CASA will remain vigilant for incidents of harassment, intimidation, violence and assault against immigrants and people of color and we will use the full extent of the law to punish those that continue to terrorize our community.
Communications Manager - CASA

CASA is a Latino and immigrant organization and a national leader in building power and improving the quality of life in low-income Latino and immigrant communities. Its vision is for a future in which diverse and thriving communities live free from discrimination and fear, and work together with mutual respect to achieve full human rights for all. Over its 30-year history CASA has established itself as a strong national leader in innovations for Latino and immigrant-focused services, and backbone organization for collective impact involving community-based, government and private partners.

Southern Poverty Law Center
November 14, 2016

SPLC asks teachers to report impact of election on children, offers advice for volatile schools

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) today launched a new survey to take the pulse of the nation’s students and teachers following the election of Donald Trump after a divisive campaign that targeted racial, ethnic and religious minorities.

The online survey seeks to update the findings of a survey conducted by the SPLC’s Teaching Tolerance project last spring. Approximately 2,000 teachers answered that survey, providing a rich trove of data about the impact of the campaign on children.

The results of the first survey were reported in The Trump Effect, which described an alarming level of fear and anxiety among children of color, along with inflamed racial and ethnic tensions in the classroom.

“Last spring, teachers told us that many students were upset and frightened by the divisive rhetoric they were hearing,” said Teaching Tolerance Director Maureen Costello. “At the same time, teachers reported an uptick in the harassment of children of color. We want to find out whether the situation has gotten better, or worse.”

The new Teaching Tolerance survey asks educators to describe the post-election climate in their schools.

It asks, for example, whether teachers have detected anti-immigrant or anti-Muslim sentiments, or heard derogatory language directed toward children of color or LGBT students; and whether students are targeting others based on which candidate they supported.

The survey also asks teachers and administrators how they are responding.

“We discovered from the previous survey that many teachers were reluctant to teach about the election,” Costello said. “Many were stymied by the need to remain nonpartisan but deeply disturbed by the language and lessons their children might be absorbing from the campaign. Now, there is a whole new set of challenges.”

Teaching Tolerance also today offered advice to school leaders to help them manage children’s fears and respond to harassment and bias at school.