School Climate in Post-Election Season

school-climate

Last week, hundreds of Davis High School students marched out of class and protested the election of Donald Trump to President.  While for the most part the students were peaceful, there were scattered reports of harassment of students not wanting to participate, and in some cases worse.

Superintendent John Bowes put out the following statement yesterday to parents and guardians:

In recent days, the presidential election has excited emotions across our country, our state, our community and within our schools. It has caused dissension among students and even a student demonstration on our senior high school campus.

This presents a very unique moment for our school district, unparalleled in the last fifteen years.  We are proactive in embracing this moment not in fear or with hesitancy, but we seize a teaching opportunity to underscore our values and commitments.  This is the time when we lead toward positive outcomes by modeling appropriate civil discourse and the free exchange of ideas. I am proud to say that our Davis School Board and staff have set a positive tone to commit to a climate of peace, respect and openness to diverse perspectives. Current events have also given us the opportunity to reflect and review our policies and procedures to ensure we have the right measures in place to ensure safety and protect student first amendment rights, while maintaining and prioritizing the orderly operation of school.

As parents and guardians, your child may have expressed strong feelings of conflict, fear and/or vulnerability. These are real emotions that may continue to exist among many in our community for some time. School is a place where every child should feel safe, welcome and connected. To that end, I ask that you please share with your child the following priorities of Davis Joint Unified School District:

  • School remains a welcome, safe space for all students
  • We respect diverse perspectives and uphold the free exchange of ideas as essential elements of our educational program.
  • School is a safe space for talking about feelings with trusted adults, including counselors, teachers, principals, etc.
  • Parents/guardians are key partners for helping to engage students in thoughtful and civil discourse.
  • Student safety, both physically and emotionally, remains our priority.
  • Classrooms are safe zones where students can engage in free and respectful exchange of ideas through a balanced approach, free from reprisal.
  • Our school district cares deeply about the social-emotional health of students. You may contact the Student Support Services office at Student Support Services or at 530-757-5300 x140 for questions about support resources for students and families.

My most important message today is that Davis Joint Unified School District is here to serve students. For quality learning to unfold, students need to be in attendance. While we did experience a recent walkout at Davis Senior High School as part of a student election protest, please be assured that the following lessons shall be upheld at our schools for the protection of all students:

  • Generally speaking, students have the right to freedom of speech and assembly on school grounds as long as it does not disrupt the educational environment or is otherwise not offensive to others on campus.
  • Students do not have a free speech right to leave school to participate in protests, and any absence for this reason should be considered an unexcused absence.
  • All school employees are held to highest ethical standards and professional behavior, are required to follow federal, state and district laws and regulations and are expected to exercise good judgment when interacting with students and members of our school community.
  • All school employees must work in concert to provide a positive school climate and a space for the free exchange of ideas with a balanced approach to diverse perspectives.

If you have any questions or concerns about these priorities or other related issues at your child’s school, please do not hesitate to contact your school principal or a site leader.

As we look ahead, our schools will continue to embrace differences, model restorative justice and serve as positive examples on how to protect and preserve healthy, civil discourse.  To enable our youth to become the leaders of tomorrow, we dedicate ourselves to providing them the best experience possible today. Thank you for your support and partnership.

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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57 thoughts on “School Climate in Post-Election Season”

  1. Barack Palin

    I can’t find any stories about the harassment and bullying of students who didn’t want to protest at Davis High.  Does anyone have any links or information about this hate?

  2. Barack Palin

    Why are my posts here getting deleted?  Where have I violated any rules?

    Once again:

    While for the most part the students were peaceful, there were scattered reports of harassment of students not wanting to participate and in some cases worse.

    An example of more hate coming from the left and this time it’s coming from some of our local high school students.

    1. South of Davis

      BP wrote:

      > An example of more hate coming from the left and this time it’s

      > coming from some of our local high school students.

      It is not just “high school” students who are getting bullied in Davis but middle school and grammar school students…

      The (mostly) left leaning kids in town have not just been going after Trump “supporters” but anyone that would not admit that Hillary should be president…

      P.S. For the most part the teachers seem to enjoy seeing kids who don’t “get with the program” get bullied since they hate Trump more than even the little “junior activists” who like making life miserable for any kid that says (or thinks) something they don’t agree with…

      1. Misanthrop

        “P.S. For the most part the teachers seem to enjoy seeing kids who don’t “get with the program” get bullied since they hate Trump more than even the little “junior activists” who like making life miserable for any kid that says (or thinks) something they don’t agree with…”

        What makes you say that? Can you provide any examples?

        1. Tia Will

          BP

          So now I have a legitimate question for you.  Would you be more willing to accept “students sharing their experiences ” in this context while previously agreeing with Jerry that my teacher daughter and/ or myself were making up the interaction that she experienced and that I related as told to me ?  Could you be suggesting that stories or anecdotes that support your bias are more likely to be true than one’s that do not ?

      2. Tia Will

        South of Davis

        For the most part the teachers seem to enjoy seeing kids who don’t “get with the program” get bullied since they hate Trump more than even the little “junior activists” who like making life miserable for any kid that says (or thinks) something they don’t agree with…”

        You recently stated on another thread that you try to be factual in your posts. Can you offer any shred of evidence…even one teacher’s name…to support this totally ludicrous statement.

        1. South of Davis

          Tia wrote:

          >  Can you offer any shred of evidence…even one teacher’s name…

          Things are already hard for my kids in this town so I don’t want to make things harder by calling out any teachers at their schools by name…

          P.S. I always hear that the Davis schools like “diversity” but I’m wondering if Tia (or wdf1) can name even one DJUSD employee who is an “out and proud” Trump supporter…

        2. MrsW

          IMO- Peaceful protest is important to democracy as practiced in the United States.  The key is “how” to protest, which has to be taught to young people by adults.  When students aren’t taught how to handle conflict in advance of the real conflict, they are going to make mistakes. One common mistake is to forget the humanity of others, who don’t share your point of view, and not seek to touch or find it. In other words, one common mistake is not to know how to be tolerant of others’ intolerance.

        3. MrsW

          I think intolerance can go every which way here.  There is all kinds of intolerance going on, on multiple levels.  It’s the kind of lack of tolerance, that simultaneously communicates a lack of basic human respect.

          The commenters assume that Trump supporters were harassed for not participating in the protests.  My kid didn’t participate in the demonstration because he is an introvert. Loud noisy protests are a vexation to the spirit for people like him.

          So, to answer your question. One intolerant group is the Trump supporters who voted for Trump based on his intolerant message and feel no responsibility to understand why others are offended.  A second intolerant group is the group that refuses to recognize that voting for Trump was a more complex decision for some people and feels no responsibility to understand why.  A third intolerant group is the one that doesn’t respect others’ need to grieve and belittles their fear.  That third group exists on the left or right or what ever direction you want to call it.

           

        4. quielo

          “So, to answer your question. One intolerant group is the Trump supporters who voted for Trump based on his intolerant message and feel no responsibility to understand why others are offended.  A second intolerant group is the group that refuses to recognize that voting for Trump was a more complex decision for some people and feels no responsibility to understand why.  A third intolerant group is the one that doesn’t respect others’ need to grieve and belittles their fear.  ”

           

          Way too complex and necessary. Few students were eligible to vote and probably fewer voted. Some students want to protest, particularly after school, that is their right. Other students don;t want to join the protest for any reason that is also their right. Why someone does not want to join in is not anyone’s business. If someone is a Trump supporter (I’m not) and wants to celebrate the win I really don’t think they need to suppress that desire based on “others’ need to grieve”.

      1. David Greenwald

        You have a some sort of discussion where those harmed would explain the impact of people’s conduct, and some sort of agreement could be reached. A circle process would probably be ideal

        1. David Greenwald

          From the article: “While for the most part the students were peaceful, there were scattered reports of harassment of students not wanting to participate and in some cases worse.”

        2. Barack Palin

          Okay, let’s play games.  Do you have any actual info of the type of harassment there was directed towards students (in some cases worse) that didn’t want to participate in the protest?

  3. Tia Will

    BP
    “Does anyone have any links or info of the harassment and bullying that occured at the High School on the day of the protest?”

    I commend you for wanting to see the evidence of what occurred prior to making assumptions.

    1. Barack Palin

      Tia Will, did you read the article:

       While for the most part the students were peaceful, there were scattered reports of harassment of students not wanting to participate and in some cases worse.

      So obviously I didn’t make any assumptions.

        1. Barack Palin

          My problem would be the article already stated that harassment occurred against students that didn’t want to participate in the walkout so there were no assumptions on my part.  I would like to find out more about what kind of harassment and bullying took place.  You know if it was Trump supporters that were bullying the other kids the Vanguard would be all over it.  Instead, I’m getting my posts erased for I guess pointing out the hate that occurred was coming from the left?

  4. ryankelly

    John Bowes statement above represents an ideal, but doesn’t reflect reality.  In my experience, DHS is a competitive environment that crushes the soul of the average student.  The election aftermath provided a unique opportunity for students to unite in a student led activity.  I appreciate their protest and their constitutional right to gather and voice their concerns.  Are Trump supporters left out?  Does this create a poor atmosphere at the school?  Don’t have an answer for this.  Their man won, so they should be happy, but maybe there is something for them to learn out of this.

    1. Barack Palin

      The point is that some students that are Trump supporters and/or some students that didn’t want to participate in the protest were harassed.  That should never be tolerated.

      Their man won, so they should be happy, but maybe there is something for them to learn out of this.

      Yes, the lesson should be that the students who did the harassing should learn that free speech allows other students their right to not participate or to support a different candidate.

      1. wdf1

        BP:  The point is that some students that are Trump supporters and/or some students that didn’t want to participate in the protest were harassed.  That should never be tolerated.

        What disciplinary response do you think would be appropriate for the perpetrators?

        1. South of Davis

          wdf1 wrote:

          > What disciplinary response do you think would

          > be appropriate for the perpetrators?

          How about the “disciplinary response” that the school would have done if Romney supporters cut class four years ago and harassed Obama supporters that didn’t want to participate…

          It seems to me that most in the Davis school district have the view that anti-Trump speech is “protected free speech” while anti-Obama speech is “racist hate speech”…

        2. Tia Will

          “What disciplinary response do you think would be appropriate for the perpetrators/”

          Well, if things worked out the way they did nationally, maybe they could be elected class president and vice president ?

      2. ryankelly

        I seriously doubt that students were harassed.  Other students might have told them how they felt about their choice.  That’s the way it goes.   I don’t see the difference from the postings you’ve been making over the last few days.  Unless you are saying that your own actions are harassment, you can’t twist my meaning.  Electing Trump is the worst decision ever for this country.  Putting committed racists and anti-Semitics into positions of power is dangerous.  Putting someone that rejects science in charge of the EPA is dangerous.  Getting rid of Obamacare and Social Security will harm these students.  And we are worried about hurting their feelings?

        1. Barack Palin

          And we are worried about their feelings?

          That’s too funny,  with all the reports surfacing about students crying and UC Davis needing counseling because of Trump’s win.  Yes indeed, it looks like if one is left leaning you are indeed worried about their feelings.

        2. ryankelly

          The outcome of the election is frightening for some and a real threat.  Twist away.  All you are really implying is that voting for Trump is a form of harassment.  Maybe I see your point and can agree with you on that.  Students have a right to voice their outrage.

        3. quielo

          “UC Davis needing counseling because of Trump’s” There was an post in the Californian that the Author’s wife did not want to have a child due to Trump. Hard to believe that there is someone stupid enough to make reproductive decisions based on an election but maybe there is.

      3. Tia Will

        Yes, the lesson should be that the students who did the harassing should learn that free speech allows other students their right to not participate or to support a different candidate.”

        And this speaks to role modeling. We have the representative of our president elect telling Harry Reid that he “had better be careful ” with his criticisms of our president elect. When these kinds of repressive, bullying examples in an attempt to suppress criticism are coming from the top, is it really that surprising that students on both sides of the issue become more aggressive and unkind. Our students have had the antithesis of kind, inclusive behavior modeled for them. Do your really think that we will not see examples of it being emulated from both sides.

  5. Chamber Fan

    BP – I know people who are in high school and I don’t get the sense that what happened rose to the level of “hate” or even “harrassment.”  Instead, I think we simply have a charged atmosphere and people are on edge.

  6. MrsW

    I can think of a number of topics that I hope teachers and parents are discussing with our community’s children and youth:  (1) What does it mean to be tolerant of others? (2) Does being tolerant include being tolerant of intolerance? (3) What is the role of protest in American political life? (4) Who has or is benefitting from historic protests? (5) Under what conditions do protests help or hurt a cause?  (6) When should you, as an individual, pick up the baton and protest, too?  and (7) What about making the effort to think for yourself? Is that a kind of protest, in and of itself?

    1. hpierce

      Good questions… the one about “tolerance for intolerance” is funny and deadly serious at the same time… a VERY good question…

      I’d add another… “are you prepared to deal with the consequences of your protest?”… if DHS students came out to protest on a non-school day, vs. ‘having a day off’ and hurting (arguably) the ADA revenue, would have been more impressed… I support the right of the students to protest… just don’t think others should ‘pay for their time’ to do so… even if I agree with them… perhaps all the parents of those who walked out of class should make an ADA contribution to DJUSD in support of their children’s choice to walk out of class…

      1. MrsW

        It is up to the adults to come up with appropriate consequences. I have been told that its better for teen development if they bear the consequences of their actions themselves and that the consequences be soon after the transgression.  Since peaceful protesting is part of American political life DHS and UCD administrators should be prepared with consequences.

        All that is coming to mind for me right now, is picking up litter or sweeping downtown, which likely has a bunch of implementation problems.  Not sure how to make ADA whole without punishing parents who arent the ones who cut class, but agree loss of ADA is a true impact

        1. wdf1

          MrsW:  Not sure how to make ADA whole without punishing parents who arent the ones who cut class, but agree loss of ADA is a true impact

          ADA is calculated for attending school for that day.  Missing a period won’t count against ADA.

      2. MrsW

        Thats great news! Then the consequence is that the students make up their work.

        I had forgotten or questioned my memory. How does ADA work? Students need to be present for Third period? I seem to recall something has changed there. It is a big deal take a kid out of school for sports events and so forth.

  7. ryankelly

    Isn’t ceasing to be politically correct (aka avoiding behavior or speech that offends people) one of the cornerstones of Trump’s campaign?

    “We can’t afford to be politically correct anymore,” said Trump.

    Well, we are experiencing the result of that, I think.  Not so pretty.

  8. Jerry Waszczuk

    ryankelly

    Political incorrectness does not mean that you have to be a  jerk racist , bigot etc . Political incorrectness  means that you have to be civilized and normal and  you can say what see without fear  to be punished .  Ronald Reagan said one time : Don’t be afraid to see what you see .  During every election time is same show , No prisoners and no Geneva Convention . Lot of money in play. Election is  over .

  9. ryankelly

    Full Definition of politically correct. : conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated.  

    politically correctadjective. us ​ /pəˈlɪt̬·ɪ·kli kəˈrekt/ abbreviation PC. › disapproving avoiding language or behavior that any particular group of people might feel is unkind or offensive: The politically correct term “firefighter” is used instead of “fireman.”

  10. Jerry Waszczuk

    ryankelly

    How about  the Westboro Baptist . In which category this church activities are  falling ?  Political in-correctness , hate crime or freedom of speech and expression or stupidity ?
    The Surprising Reason Why Westboro Won’t Support Donald Trump
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-westboro-baptist-church_us_56ddae67e4b0000de405349e
    “He’s sort of fringe,” Phelps, who is a registered Democrat, told The Daily Caller. She clarified, however, that she didn’t know who she’d be voting for come November.
    Other members of the church blasted Trump on Twitter Saturday.

     

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