Following November’s announcement of Donald Trump as president-elect, the growing concern of targeted harassment across the nation has been echoed within our own school district.
The contentious race alone managed to cause discord among students and staff, but the election outcome itself has introduced a completely separate issue. Not only have some of the president-elect’s supporters been given an inflated sense of triumph from the anticipated result, but individuals with all kinds of political beliefs are lashing out at those with discordant ideas.
In an email sent to PUSD families and staff following the election results, Acting Superintendent Mel Robertson addressed his concern regarding the increase of targeted bullying towards people of beliefs.
“Unfortunately, since the recent presidential election, it has come to my attention that a few of our staff and students have been targeted because of their race, religion, or political beliefs, creating an unsafe learning and working environment,” Robertson said. “Our students cannot learn when they are afraid or bullied, and I know I speak for our full community in saying this cannot continue.”
MC Assistant Principal Sara Ramirez recognized the presence of the post-election tension, but asserted that its impact on Sundevils was far less of a problem compared to other schools and regions.
“I think that the reason we haven’t had any [harassment] here is because our culture when it comes to the Sundevil Way and the right way to act is stronger than in most places,” Ramirez said. “Although there’s been conversation within groups, we’ve been able to [control] a lot of the emotion.”
Regardless of whether or not post-election feelings have been significantly unsettled, Robertson reminds families that the district’s number one goal is a safe learning environment.
“We must continue to work to create a positive culture where every person is respected and valued: an environment where rich dialogue is encouraged among our students and staff, but the discourse does not harm a person’s identity or well-being,” Robertson said.
Though much of the nation has allowed political disagreement to threaten intergroup cooperation, it is evident that at MC, Sundevils can agree to disagree.