American children are using Trump's words to bully classmates, report finds

Analysis from the Washington Post finds more than 300 incidents of school bullying 

Danielle Zoellner
New York
Thursday 13 February 2020 22:44 GMT
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Children across the US are using Donald Trump's rhetoric to bully their classmates, a report has found.

The Washington Post reviewed articles throughout Mr Trump's presidency that reference elementary, middle, or high school bullying and found students using the president's inflammatory statements, which are often described as racist or xenophobic, to bully.

The newspaper analysed 28,000 articles starting from the beginning of 2016 for its research relating to bullying in the classroom. It found Mr Trump's words, chants at his campaign rallies, and even his last name were used by students and staff members to harass other people in more than 300 reported incidents.

Of those incidents, 75 per cent showed inflammatory language relating to Mr Trump directed at students who are Hispanic, Muslim or black.

Bullying incidents cited by the Post in connection with Mr. Trump's rhetoric included what Cielo Castor, a Mexican American college student, experienced when attending Kamiakin High in Kennewick, Washington.

Ms Castor told the publication she felt personally bullied by classmates after she expressed her disapproval for the president, which influenced one student to refuse to sit next to her during class.

Then at a football game students unrolled a "Make America Great Again" flag and chanted "Build The Wall" from the stadium. Hispanic students at Ms Castor's school organised a walkout in protest against the racial problems exhibited by classmates. During the walkout, Ms Castor walked by a white male student who said: "Look, it's one of those f***ing Mexicans."

Another bullying incident occurred in June 2019 in New Jersey when a 13-year-old boy told his Mexican American classmate, 12, that "all Mexicans should go back behind the wall". The classmate's mother approached the bully the next day about his comment and was beaten unconscious by the child.

The Washington Post is not the only publication to research if Mr Trump's rhetoric has trickled down into the schools.

Buzzfeed News previously analysed the impact of Mr Trump's words on bullying and found 50 incidents across 26 states where students used popular phrases coined by the president.

One incident happened at a high school in Shakopee, Minnesota, where boys in Donald Trump shirts swarmed a black teenage girl and sang The Star-Spangled Banner. But instead of singing the correct lyrics, they replaced the closing line with "and home of the slaves".

While on a school bus in San Antonio, Texas, a white eighth grader told a Filipino classmate, "You are going to be deported." A black classmate in Brea, California, was told by a white eighth grader, "Now that Trump won, you're going to have to go back to Africa, where you belong.”

Claims Mr Trump could be influencing bullying behaviour and racist or xenophobic rhetoric between classmates comes as First Lady Melania Trump has made anti-bullying one of her initiatives while at the White House. The first lady launched her "Be Best" campaign in May 2018. The platform has a broad scope, but included is anti-bullying and cyberbullying objectives. Mrs Trump has never commented on her husband's alleged bullying behaviour.

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