One lesson they could have taught the children is how the First Amendment works. But we can’t have anyone’s feeeeeelings hurt.
Via KIRO TV: The superintendent of Highline Public Schools wrote a letter to families last week, calling for respect among students. Dr. Susan Enfield said she has received reports from staff around the district that students have been repeating language they heard from presidential candidates in the media. Click here to read the letter.
While Enfield said this language is not limited to statements by Donald Trump, she cited this example: “I did use one example in my letter, about a student seeing a ‘Trump Wins’ headline, and crying, thinking that he was going to be deported. … This is a young child. He doesn’t know. Somebody says ‘if this person gets elected, you will be deported.’ Now, obviously, that’s not accurate.”
In her letter, Enfield linked to a statement of solidarity, written by a student group called the International Rescue Committee at Highline High School. Among other things, the statement reads that students should not judge others, nor stereotype.
The club was started by Mohamed Mohamed, a student who left a Kenyan refugee camp to come to the United States. Mohamed said he has heard all kinds of language directed at Muslims like himself. “I heard somebody say that Muslims are terrorists. ‘If I see a Muslim, I’ll kill the Muslim person,’” he said he has heard. He has also heard people make comments derogatory to Hispanic students. He said he can trace this type of discourse to the timing of the presidential campaign season.
“You’re telling me, you’re going to build a wall? People are working so hard,” Mohamed said, referring to immigrants he knows who are working several jobs to survive. “I wish I could sit down with Donald Trump for like 5 minutes, because I have a lot to tell him.”
Enfield wrote a similar letter in The Seattle Times, which drew some criticism. But she told KIRO 7 she anticipated that when she decided to write it. “This is not, in my mind, a partisan issue. I am not asking people to take a stand, nor am I in any way trying to offend people’s political affiliations. … However, when I have children who are feeling frightened, who are feeling intimidated, I simply cannot stand by as the superintendent and a member of this community and say nothing,” she said.
Enfield said she had been tracking this issue for months, ever since she received a flurry of profane tweets from a group of Highline High School students in the fall. When those students were asked about cursing at the superintendent on social media, Enfield said one of them was emotional, “almost to the point of tears – and said, ‘we just didn’t know what else to do. And look in the news. Look at the people who get attention.’ That was the day that stopped me in my tracks and I realized, ‘Oh my gosh, those are the lessons our kids are taking away right now.'”