School may be out, but kids are always learning.
Tracey Iglehart, a teacher at Rosa Parks elementary school in Berkeley, California, did not expect Donald Trump to show up on the playground.
This was, after all, a school named after a civil rights hero in a progressive California enclave, with a melting pot of white, African American, Latino and Muslim students.
That has not stopped some children from channeling and adopting the Republican presumptive nominee’s xenophobic rhetoric in playground spats and classroom exchanges.
“They said things like ‘you’ll get deported’, ‘you weren’t born here’ and ‘you were born in a Taco Bell’,” said Iglehart, 49. “They may not know exactly what it means, but they know it’s powerful language.”
Hearing it in Rosa Parks elementary, of all places, came as a shock. “Berkeley is not an area where there are Trump supporters. This is not the land of Trump.”
Yet the spirit of the GOP presidential candidate has surfaced here and, according to one study, in schools across the country.
An online survey of approximately 2,000 K-12 teachers by the Southern Poverty Law Center found toxic political rhetoric invading elementary, middle and high schools, emboldening children to make racist taunts that leave others bewildered and anxious.
“We mapped it out. There was no state or region that jumped out. It was everywhere,” said Maureen Costello, the study’s author. “Marginalized students are feeling very frightened, especially Muslims and Mexicans. Many teachers use the word terrified.” The children who did the taunting were echoing Trump’s rhetoric, she said. “Bad behavior has been normalized. They think it’s OK.”
Or, to quote Rodgers and Hammerstein, you’ve got to be carefully taught.
Jim Morin in the Miami Herald.