Donald Trump’s campaign has followed a predictable pattern: he says something controversial, the media swarms to cover it, and his poll numbers only seem to go up no matter what he says. Regardless of how you might feel about this method it’s clearly working, and has driven Trump to frontrunner status in the primaries.
However, this much coverage of these types of remarks has done damage in other parts of society, perhaps most notable among children and bullying. The Southern Poverty Law Center put out a study titled “The Trump Effect”: The Impact of the Presidential Campaign on our Nation’s Schools.” The results are difficult for those who have been affected. In all, two-thirds of teachers reported that they had students who were bullied more, much of this stemming from the public sentiment stirred up by the Trump campaign (in particular, Muslim children and children of immigrants).
Aside from bullying, children are concerned regarding what a Trump Presidency would mean for them. One teacher wrote, “There is a boy from Mexico, who is a citizen, who is terrified that the country will deport him if Trump wins. He is also scared that kids and grown-ups can and will hurt him.” Another teacher stated, “My students are terrified of Donald Trump. They think that if he’s elected, all black people will get sent back to Africa.”
Since Trump’s rhetoric has been extremely effective, it’s unlikely that he will shift strategies. Instead, it falls on teachers and school officials to monitor such bullying with a stronger eye, and ensure their students feel safe and accepted regardless of race or religion.