The quadrennial presidential election is a great opportunity to educate young citizens about America’s electoral process, the government, and the responsibilities of citizenship. For many in-school children and teens, the results of this process is often greater understanding of the country and the constitution, or better critical thinking skills regarding politics. This year, however, the message received is different.
What made this year’s election stand out is the focused attention on colored people and immigrants of specific religions. An informal online survey shows that since the mid-season of the election, racial and ethnic tension in classrooms has been brought to an alarming level; bullying has also risen a dramatic amount. “Students are hearing more hate language than I have ever heard at our school before,” says a high school teacher in Helena, Montana.
Indeed, this year’s presidential election plays a great role in the unprecedented and worrisome changes among schools. The hate language and accusation toward specific classmates are often twisted versions of some candidates’ political proposals. Build a wall to prevent illegal immigration turns into "your whole family would be kicked out of the U.S."; a ban-proposal of muslim immigrants is comprehended as the green light to pick on children of Islamic culture. Moreover, people outside the targeted zone are wrongly depicted as problem-free citizens, and many kids take advantage of that feel of superiority, resulting in unintentional discrimination.
Parents’ reactions toward this political topic can strongly affect those of their children, thus parental education would be a necessity to stop this bullying from prevailing. I believe parents should be no less concerned about their child being the one to bully than about them being the target. Casting pressure on other people while disregarding actual facts is not an appropriate way of scoring political points, and parents should be the ones to impart that ethic to their children. They not only shouldn't display discrimination in front of their children, rather, they need to let them know that not all Mexican immigrants carry a bag of cocaine when they cross the border, and that not all Muslims have a bomb on them ready to blow up any time.
As students, we should be able to distinguish effective methods to express our opinions from behaviors that are inappropriate and immature. We should also learn not to let our political prejudices negatively affect classmates. With our influence and the help of our parents, I want us to be the ones to stop this meaningless bullying.