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Educators stand with Hillary in declaring that we must be “Better than Bullying”

Eskelsen García: “Clinton understands that kindness, collaboration and cooperation are important in school and in life”


WASHINGTON - October 27, 2016 -

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García provided the following response today to Hillary Clinton’s release of Better than Bullying, a plan to provide $500 million in new funding to states to help children, families and educators confront the challenge of bullying and heal divisions in communities around the nation:

“Like our educators, Hillary Clinton understands that kindness, collaboration and cooperation are important in school and in life,” said Eskelsen García. “The rise in vitriolic speech in classrooms and the anxiety created by Donald Trump illustrate that students need this support now more than ever. Educators are proud to have a partner in policies that help our children and look forward to working with Secretary Clinton to implement these proposals as president.”

The Better than Bullying plan was released this morning in a telebriefing featuring educator and NEA-New Hampshire member Anne McQuade along with campaign representatives and experts. McQuade is teaches English language learners in Manchester, a federally mandated refugee relocation center. Her students frequently describe their fear of a Trump presidency, and she reassures them by saying that they are safe here in America and that the United States will protect them and their families.

"A student from Mexico stood in front of my desk with watery eyes and asked, 'Miss, is it true if Donald Trump is elected President of the United States, my family will be kicked out of America?' and 'Do you think they will take my Dad away? He brings food home and I don't know what we will do without him,'"
 McQuade said. "Students should not be thinking about being deported or discriminated against. They should be thinking about their math homework and essays."

A recent report by the nonpartisan Southern Poverty Law Center indicated Trump’s divisive, hate-filled campaign has directly impacted America’s classrooms. More than two-thirds of educators said students–mainly immigrants, children of immigrants and Muslims – have expressed concern about what may happen to their families after the election, and more than half of educators have seen an increase in uncivil political discourse. From the disabled, to demeaning women for their appearance, to calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “criminals,” Donald Trump has made no apologies to the growing list of people that he has attempted to bully since the launch of his hate-filled campaign. Earlier this month, the NEA unveiled a digital and direct mail campaign to raise awareness about the harmful effects of Donald Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric on America’s schoolchildren.

Clinton’s Better Than Bullying initiative would provide $500 million in new funding to states that develop comprehensive anti-bullying plans, empowering communities to improve school climates and support our kids. States will have flexibility in tailoring anti-bullying plans to their local communities, in keeping with national priorities outlined by the campaign. Those priorities and examples of policy interventions and investments states can pursue can be found here.

Previously in the campaign, Clinton has outlined a number of initiatives that complement the Better Than Bullying initiative and its goals, including her commitment to end the school-to-prison pipeline, fight for full equality for LGBT people, and support Americans living with mental health problems and illnesses.

Of the NEA’s nearly 3 million members, 76 percent are women. The majority of NEA members are college educated and reside in suburbs and exurbs. NEA members live in every state and congressional district. The college educated women demographic is perhaps the most critical set in this election, and tens of thousands of NEA educators across the country are working hard on behalf of Secretary Clinton to ensure she is our next president.

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