Politics Aside, Speak for Tolerance

With full respect for different political opinions, let’s agree on the science: kids must feel safe to learn. Fear gets in the way.

The 2016 U.S. presidential campaign lead to increased anxiety and fear among many students.

How do we address that fear? How will we ensure ALL students feel valued and included in your school community?

Here’s what Principal Guthrie Brown Fleischman told his students the morning after the election at Crespi Middle School in California:

“We live in a democratic nation, sometimes the person you like doesn’t win or someone you fear does win. The good thing about our system is that no one rules forever and there will always be another election. For some of you, you will have the chance to vote in the next election. Educate yourself and make a wise and informed decision.

But bigotry is not a democratic value. Hatred is not a democratic value. Misogyny, homophobia, Islamaphobia, and bullying are not democratic values.

I, and your teachers, and everyone at Crespi Middle School stand with our Muslim students, our Latino students, our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students. Our immigrant students, and your families. Everyone who feels threatened or afraid right now. We love you and we will protect you. Anyone that wants to deport you or your family will have to go through me first. I stand with you and I support you.

Young women, even though that man has said and done horrible things to women, it is not ok for you to be treated that way. The things he has said are despicable and beneath every single one of you. And young men, I want you to look to your teachers, coaches, your fathers, your uncles, pastors and other men in your life who treat women with respect and dignity. Those are the people who you can follow. I will continue to do everything that I can to be a great example to you with regard to how a true man treats all women with dignity and respect.

Be not afraid, be prepared. Be not timid, be informed. Be not defeated, be inspired to work harder, to read more, to engage in conversation and dialogue, to work with your allies toward a better future for yourself, your family, and your country. Education is now more important than it has ever been as it represents your opportunity to seize power and self determination.

I will leave you with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” This is not the end of our story, but a moment on the arc toward justice for all.

Thank you, I love you, and I am here for you.”

More Resources:

Teaching Tolerance Election 2016 Resources

What Do We Tell The Children? 


I am a keynote speaker, author and educational leader helping educators teach and lead for equitable schools. My books include EL Excellence Every Day, Breaking Down the Wall & Opening Doors to Equity. I'm a descendant of colonizers and enslavers deeply committed to transforming my family legacy for healing.

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