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National Education Association Launches Campaign to Highlight the “Trump Effect” as Bullying Increases in Classrooms

Educators Discuss How Trump’s Hate-Filled Words are Harming Our Children


WASHINGTON - October 03, 2016 -

Today the National Education Association announced the launch of a digital and direct mail campaign to raise awareness about the harmful effects of Donald Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric on America’s schoolchildren. Joined by Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Ohio educator Joy Bock, NEA President Lily Eskelsen García discussed the consequences of Trump’s divisive and derogatory comments in classrooms across the country during a tele-briefing this afternoon.

Educators, counselors and experts on bullying joined together on Monday to participate in events in the key battleground states of Iowa, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania sharing firsthand accounts of the “Trump Effect” in classrooms. Since Trump entered the race for president last year, educators have witnessed a steady increase in bullying and harassing behavior that mirrors his words and actions on the campaign trail.

“As educators, we teach our kids that kindness, collaboration and cooperation are important not just in school, but in in life,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “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. 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.” Trump’s bullying was on prominent display just last week when he debated Hillary Clinton at Hofstra University. Clinton called him out for degrading remarks he consistently makes about women, including comedienne Rosie O’Donnell and former Miss Universe Alicia Machado.

A recent report by the non-partisan Southern Poverty Law Center, “The Trump Effect,” offers data and firsthand accounts of the candidate’s negative impact. In this new report, more than two-thirds of teachers surveyed said they had witnessed this effect.

The NEA will launch a battleground state campaign to raise awareness of the negative effects Trump’s language and intemperate behavior has on our students, using targeted digital marketing and direct mail to key battleground states with key constituencies.

“Millions of children across our country are watching Donald Trump unapologetically belittle people who are different from him time after time,” Ellison said. “He's sending a disturbing message to our kids and it's sinking in. Reports of bullying and harassment are on the rise in our schools, especially toward students of color, Muslim Americans and immigrants.”

Bock, a language arts teacher from suburban Columbus, also provided remarks. Bock is a registered Republican who voted in a Democratic primary for the first time in 2016. She voted for Hillary Clinton.

“As an educator and someone who cares deeply about our children and their future, I see first-hand why I could never vote for Donald Trump,” said Bock. “I start each school year off with lessons on the basics of our government. 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.’ 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.”

“There is so much at stake in who we choose to be our next president, but this is so much bigger than politics,” said Eskelsen García. “We need a president who will wake up every day with the best interests of our children in mind. Hillary Clinton has proven time and again she is that leader. Donald Trump has proven he is unsuitable to be the type of role model befitting the highest elected office in the world.”

Follow NEA on Twitter at @NEAmedia

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at www.nea.org.

CONTACT: Richard Allen Smith, NEA Communications  202-716-6461 cell, rasmith@nea.org