Never do I recall teachers calming frightened students after an election. But that is what happened all day today in many, many schools.
Teachers reassured students from all kinds of families—some immigrants, some children of immigrants, their friends, their classmates, all while handling their own shock. In urban schools, administrators sent home letters and read announcements in many languages so everyone understood that their classrooms were places to feel safe and the adults would help keep it that way.
The harm and danger children feel is not just about racism and anti-immigration policies that have been made explicit for more than a year.
It’s also about how we adults behave and how we talk to each other. Attacking, bullying, blaming others, vicious name calling, derogatory chants, lying, verbal abuse, rampant misogyny, and deeply trenched xenophobia abound.
Under the guise of eliminating anything “politically correct”, children now see that speaking without a filter, without consideration for hurting others, gets a huge reward!
Years ago during adult conversations, my grandmother would sing in a whisper, “Little ears!” She knew, correctly, that I was sitting on the stairs listening to grownups talk. “Little ears!” was a warning to the adults to monitor one’s tone or words.
What steps can you take in your life to speak more kindly and discuss important topics more respectfully? As I see it, that’s the only path forward.