How To Talk To Your Kids About Trump

Just another day at the Ayn Rand School for Tots

You think your election-day morning after sucked? Imagine being a public school teacher with a classroom full of distraught sobbing kids who are pretty sure the man who'll be president wants to deport them and their parents. The Washington Post brings us a roundup of some of the reactions from schools around the country, where teachers found themselves having to be comforting and doing civics lessons on the fly:

Educators sought to channel the energy into lessons on civility, democracy and on America’s system of checks and balances on power, explaining that many of Trump’s policy proposals -- love them or hate them -- might not come to be without congressional approval.

Not a bad reminder for some of us adults, too. Trump might want to be a Supreme Overlord, but he's not going to be that, and one of the recurring themes in the next four years is going to be watching him have hissy fits when he finds out he can't simply issue an executive order banning journalists from saying things he doesn't like.

A few highlights:

  • Jake Zebley, a high school teacher in Maryland, had a 9th-grader who said "I guess today is our last day [... ] Because Trump won, my family might be deported.” So that day's lesson plan got replaced by a discussion of the branches of government and the separation/balance of powers, and the students started becoming a little less fearful, since "they knew it was not one person who could set the course of their future,” Zebley said.

    And then once they're lulled into a sense of security, ICE can nab them.

  • In California, Berkeley High School was completely Berkeley, bless 'em: about a third of the 3,000 students walked out to march over to the UC Berkeley campus and protest Trump's election. We may be in love with Principal Sam Pasarow, who said students hold at least one walkout every year, so this was no big: he just sent some teachers out to keep an eye on the kids.

    “Kids got to process it in a community of peers,” Pasarow said. “Kids are still upset, hurt, freaked out.”

    Berkeley High for the Win. And can we clone some more principals like Sam Pasarow?

  • A fifth-grade teacher at a private school in Fairfax County, Virginia, Mary Akeley, had avoided talking about the election, during the campaign, because she thought it was too heavy for her students' maturity level. Confronted with hordes of sobbing kids, the school held an assembly to remind kids "to be civil and sensitive to one another’s feelings." Akeley had to have a word with a young Trump supporter to remind him gloating is not so civil, and comfort a group of girls heartbroken by Hillary Clinton's loss. Here's hoping she reminded them to watch Clinton's concession speech when they got home.
  • In Jordan, Utah, a middle-school social studies teacher, Megan Osborn, said the civility thing was going pretty well, at least until one kid walked into class and proclaimed, "Anyone who voted for Hillary Clinton should die!" And so it was time for an impromptu lesson on civilized discourse, even if the president-elect isn't much good at it: "We talked about why comments like that are inappropriate and how saying things like that can really cause a lot of problems in our country," said Osborn. It sounds like she didn't even add "Like the election of Donald Trump," so congratulations on biting your tongue there, Ms. Osborn!
  • High school World History teacher Chris Murray in Bethesda, Maryland, turned the election into a chance to do some hands-on learning, having the class look at polling data to analyze Trump's support in demographic terms, "as a way to look deeply at who supported him and to think through why." Murray asked his students to try to put themselves in other voters' shoes, rather than simply calling them bigots. Fine, fine, but we think it's possible to understand why someone might be a bigot but still recognize that bigotry is not a good thing?

Then there were the kids at a high school in Forrest City, Arkansas, where a history teacher said once they were sure Hillary Clinton wouldn't take their guns away, they got back to talking about football and who broke up with whom. Election? What election? That sounds a lot more like the high schools we knew and loathed, all right.

And for you Wonkers, we would like to offer some advice on how to talk to YOUR kids about the scary man who'll become president in January: You're mostly Olds like us, so your kids are adults. Call them on the phone and have a good cry together.

Your Wonkette: always happy to be servicey!


Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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