Trump Effect creates environment where students fear for their futures, families


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by Gladys Marquez
High School Bilingual/ELL English Teacher
Blue Island, Illinois

Like thousands of teachers across the country, I am blessed to teach in a school district that is rich in culture and diversity. As an educator, I understand that together we work to support all students, from every background and every zip code.

However, what happens when political bullying transcends virtual boundaries and negatively impacts our learning communities? When a presidential candidate refuses to take accountability for his own hateful rhetoric, which negatively impacts the lives of our nation’s most vulnerable communities?

You get what educators and parents call the “Trump Effect.” That term describes the negative impact Donald Trump’s hostile and, often, hateful rhetoric is having on kids, particularly English Language Learners and Latino students. It has reverberated in classrooms across our nation and is causing students of color to question their ability to achieve their dreams and overall acceptance within a society where politicians openly discuss building walls and deporting millions.

Illinois educator Gladys Marquez

Case in point: My students were charged with the task of comparing and contrasting events outlined in the novel The Book Thief, which is about historical events that transpired during WWII. To my horror, my students quickly began to draw parallels between the Holocaust, their own dreams and opportunities, and the upcoming presidential election.

I could see the fear in their eyes as they discussed and fought to rationalize what was being proposed by Donald Trump. They wrestled with the possibility of mass deportations and began to discuss where their friends and families would hide to avoid his proposed round-up of 11.5 million undocumented immigrants.

“Surely our friends would take us in,” said one student. “I know I would do what I could to help my friends and family…”

“Maybe we should all just leave if they don’t want us here,” said another.

My heart broke as one by one they presented their findings and all of their stories pointed to their own need to protect those they love from impending doom.

This election cycle, Americans have been fed a negative narrative that has ultimately and systematically rewritten societal norms and allowed the acceptance of systemic and institutionalized racism, bigotry, and oppression. As educators, we must join with our communities to reclaim the narrative and write a new chapter of hope for our students.

All students must be supported for who they are, their intrinsic uniqueness, and their aspirations to achieve the American Dream. They need us, the adults, to be brave, to organize, to work together and fight for their futures. We must make a difference in their lives—the future of our country depends on it.

Reader Comments

  1. It is amazing to se how much hatred is spewed out from people caused by an article that caused such discord in their hearts. I have noticed that when truth strikes a nerve the mouths start babbling in defense. We need a happier America!.

    1. I believe you are confusing hatred with logic and lawful activity. It seems liberal thinking typically discounts a need to adhere to law, anyone disagreeing spews hatred.

      1. You are very right. I am sick and tired of the liberals thinking they can be lawless and there will be no consequences. What happen’s when you are here illegally? You may be deported. No one forced you to come to the U.S. Your government needs to take care of you if you want any government to take care of you. Your religion, in the case of muslims, has been hijacked. I don’t see you speaking out against radical islamists. People believe a political commercial in the case of Mr. Trump mimicking a physically handicapped person. Did you bother to find out the real truth? I doubt it. You believed it because this fits your misguided, liberal sensetivities agenda. Schools need to teach reading, writing, arithmetic, science. Parent”s job is to build up their children and teach them morals, respect for the law, resilience, coping skills. Schools cannot fill that void if you don’t do your part. We wI’ll get better, we will overcome. Parents, do your job! Quit whining and blaming others!

        1. Yeah, sorry guys. With pretty much the whole internet being down on Friday, a lot of people ended up with new IP addresses, so I had to re-approve you to comment. As usual, your posts will display automatically now.

          1. Just saw what happened to the internet on Friday, last. Scary. In a nut shell my understanding is someone hacked the company that connects domain names with IP addresses so your inquiry can be correctly directed and essentially caused a disconnect.

  2. What nonsense. The only people who have to worry are illegal aliens and they have no right to be here in the first place. What are their parents teaching them- that breaking the law is okay? That is is fine to do things that are illegal and hope you don’t get caught? Those are bad messages to teach any child. Those who are citizens or who are here legally will stay. Those who are not need to go back where they came from and apply to come legally. We need to respect legal immigrants and hold them up as good examples. Mr. Trump himself said so.

    1. One, even if a legal citizen, might have to worry. Seems its not too difficult to get ones’ self on the no-fly list with little recourse. Recall the Ted Kennedy episode.

  3. If a student draws a conclusion that Hitler and Trump are the same, a responsible teacher ought to correct that notion. Hitler was evil and had a hatred for all ‘non Arians’. Trump has a hatred for illegal activity. Bit of a difference. So if person is here illegally, they should be afraid and live constantly looking over their shoulder. Simple answer is legal vs. illegal

  4. Thank you, Gladys Marquez, for writing so eloquently about the “Trump effect”. I enjoyed reading your words. I taught for 30 years and just recently have returned to the classroom to substitute teach. I am not as close to the students I am subbing for, so I have not seen or heard of their concerns. However, I have my own concerns.
    In elections in the past, as a teacher of United States History, I could play portions of the debates in my classroom and together as a class we examined the issues that were of most importance to us as a community. In the past these have been the economy, education and immigration. The community where I taught was an immigrant community, both recent immigrants from Pakistan, Mexico, and Southeast Asia and long time immigrants from Mexico (the Bracero program of the 1920s) India(having fled India before independence) and Eastern Europe (after World War II). These facts meant we studied the issues of immigration during each election cycle from 1986 – 2011.
    Based on the content of the three recent debates I would not have been able to play much of this material in the classroom. A simple example would be, both candidates have interrupted each other. I did not allow my students to interrupt each other while they were expressing their opinions. If I had played some portions of these debates I would have had a hard time keeping the discussions in my classroom at a civil tone, once my students had seen and heard the adult candidates behaving in this manner.
    This is a grave concern. If this is the “Trump effect” in action, it could actually be said to have a broad affect on what material is used during instruction. The need for discussions of historically important events, such as elections is clear. However, if the adult examples are unacceptable teaching material, where do we begin? Only with the negative?

  5. The real truth is that schools now indoctrinate children into believing they are entitled and everything should be free. We should go back to a time when if you choose not to work, you get nothing from the state. Our current economic GDP growth is now down to 1.2%. That is the 4th worst in all of our history. They try to blame the “Bush” everything, when in reality the Democrats blocked a bill in 2006 that would have restricted any speculation in mortgage securities and which would have prevented the subprime crash. Also they say look at the great economy of Bill Clinton. But if not for the Dot Com boom, Bill Clinton would have been a nothing president.

    Children should cry if Hillary wins because their future is doomed. She has no success to run on, she is a proven pathological liar and a continued economic decline is the best she can do. Trump while not my first choice is a way better choice than Hillary the liar will ever be.

    1. Dear Andrew,
      The real truth is that PARENTS NOT SCHOOLS now indoctrinate children into believing they are entitled and everything should be free. You are, of course, aware that the Congress who makes the laws is Republican controlled and have passed little or no legislation of substance in the last several years. As for Clinton, he inherited a deficit and left office with a surplus because the Republican Congress was willing to work with him. If you think that Hillary is a liar, maybe you should look at Mr Trump. He is clearly a Narcissist and a bully. He has NO experience in government and as much as people would like to think the government is a business, it clearly is NOT A BUSINESS. Electing Donald Trump to govern is like paying a mechanic who has never worked on a car or going to a Doctor who has never practiced medicine. As much as you dislike Hillary, SHE DOES HAVE A PROVEN RECORD. Donald, on the other hand, has disrespected many groups of people, including women, immigrants, the disabled, gold star families, and people who worked for him who didn’t get paid. He has filed for bankruptcy 6 times and has had three wives, cheating on the first two. In addition, he paid no taxes and the goods he and his family sells are made out the the United States. Our children really need to cry if he is elected since he really cares NOTHING about children, except his own. Finally, it is imperative that you take the time to actually go into a school, checkout the curriculum, and maybe volunteer. I think you would truly find out what is really being taught.

    2. Many years, decades actually, my wife had a relative, sort of medium management level in a big regional bank. He was directed to doctor-manipulate-redo…… mortgage applications from low income minority applicants. Eventually, a few later after lots of defaults, the ‘plan’ was traced back to the Democratic state legislature who were courting low income potential buyers. Point is, nothing ever changes. Bleeding heart progressives somehow always seem to want to give away other people’s money in the form of taxes and having those who work hard support illegal activity and low income people.

      Trump is no gem but he is not beholden to the corporations and groups that moron-liars like Hillary and Pocahontas overtly bad mouth but get into bed with when then lights are out. Figuratively speaking of course!

      Hillary owes so many groups so much, she will never come clean of all her nasty activities.

      Can you imagine Bill in the White House? With 20 year old female interns? How is she going to keep him away ?

    3. Thank God our great constitution allowed all the people from all corners of the country to have their say. Logic and reason won out over mass hysteria.

  6. All I know is that we have elementary students bursting into tears if his name is mentioned. That is certainly unprecedented. Their tension is palpable and their behavior a reflection of their fear. – Washington DC area elementary school librarian.

    1. There is a significant issue if a name causes tears. Parents need to take responsibility for their kids. Of course it would be nice if there were 2 accountable parents.

  7. I don’t know that I would have a problem with teachers’ pay, if they actually taught the students. The agenda of the teachers union is the implementation of the socialist/communist manifestos, which include the mantra that America is the worst country in the world and, in many cases, that God does not exist nor does the teachings of God. Another thing which prevents me from supporting the teachers is their exclusion of Americas’ History from its inception.

    1. Why don’t you look up truth before you talk. We do teach. If you wanna attack someone, attack the government for making teachers teach common core which anyone in education can tell you is dumbing down the students and confusing the hell out of them because regulations from the gvt evaluate teachers on test scores pressuring teachers to cover more information than they have the time to do and then students can’t master skills like they used to do. Talk to the teachers who stay til 6 or 7 most nights because they have so much work to do because they care about the kids. Government needs to stop interfering so teachers can do their jobs!! This is what’s wrong with society! No one know or cares to understand and lash out about something they know nothing about! Hillary will dumb down our kids even more so they don’t know any better.

      1. Gee, wasn’t common core instituted by the same politicians supported by many NEA and local education association dollars? Anything wrong with that picture? Maybe educator associations ought to stay out of politics with hard earned dollars.

    2. I am curious as to how much time you have spent teaching or volunteering in the schools. I can speak from 39 years of classroom experience that your statements are emphatically untrue for each of the schools in which I have worked, in 2 different states. I would encourage you to be a reading buddy or lunch buddy in one of your local schools and find out for yourself what is going on before you go off spouting hateful generalities that you have heard from someone or read somewhere.

      1. I take it that you don’t teach now so you no longer have the responsibilities and hoops that a current teacher has to jump through to maintain their job. All in the name of “Progress”. All “Common Core” and the new ways of testing and grading have done is to create a state of confusion for teachers.

        1. Before we get get all excited about common core et al, look at how it got going. World famous philanthropist Bill Gates, Mr Microsoft, gave millions and millions to get Pearson essentially defined as THE test creator, Microsoft as the software platform and wouldn’t you know it! Guess who owns Pearson?

          Follow the money, it never fails to lead you to where the feces erupts in the first place. If you want more humor, take a look at Clinton Cash. Disbelievers will dismiss it at conservative propaganda, realists will see it as. A spotlight on the the most corrupt couple in the history of American politics.

          1. Thank you for proving the original comment of civil discourse. Really? We need to resort to ‘name-calling’ & words that I wouldn’t allow in my 4th grade classroom or out of the mouth of my 2-year old grandson’s mouth. Is this what America has to look forward to for the next 4 years? Has everyone lost focus here? The students are scared – plain & simple – they have watched, heard, read hateful, hurtful messages from BOTH sides for 18 months! Students have brains, are intelligent & can draw their own conclusions. It’s sad when the children are setting the examples the adults should follow.

        2. Jim, the politicians who mandated all the nonsense for teachers are the politicians who teachers helped elect.

          Anybody else think it’s time for congressional term limits?

    3. You really need to get into some classrooms. That BS you just sprouted shows you clearly have no idea what is going on there. But you know what? That’s fine if you don’t want to pay me as a hard-working, caring, dedicated, engaging professional who works 12-15 hours a day creating challenging lessons, etc. I’d happily accept the pay of an average day care center. At current rates that’d be over 300,000 a year. Does sound like a better plan to you?

  8. Often these same children hear and see things at home that are what the Trump Effect is all about. I do not believe he is attempting to eliminate all Latin, Muslim, Assyrian, refugees and their families. What he wants is standards established for not allowing members of those communities who are radically influenced citizens to be allowed to come to our country. Those already here have the opportunity to stay, become legal citizens, work and have the same privileges that the rest of us have had.
    Yes, he is very much a loud mouth and say thing off the top of his head but if children are scared by what he is saying the must be allowed to watch new at home or are left on their own to watch whatever they would like. There is not one per who reads this that was never fearful of someone or something as a student. And, often times it was a teacher or principal and very little was ever mentioned about that until recently. Maybe the Trump Effect, will improve teaching and administering in our school? Just a thought from a eighty year of former teacher, coach, and principal

    1. What is awaiting moderation mean? Also in Indiana is the only thing I am aware of. However, my webstie is Xfinity which allows our e-mails to come through Comcast using Outlook.

      1. In order to reduce spam, we manually check every new user on EdVotes who leaves a comment. Since I’ve now approved one of your comments, in the future you will be able to post without waiting for moderation. I’m not sure what the question about internet service providers means though.

    2. Children are only afraid because teachers like this one with her own liberal adgenda make false comparisons. Trumps plans and Hitler’s atrsosities are not comparable! People of any nationality who legally want to become citizens and pay taxes like the rest of us will have no worries! The people who are worried don’t want to be citizens they just want to take advantage of our country! They work illegally and send tax free money back to their countries where they plan to return!

      1. Au contraire.
        1. Undocumented immigrants do pay taxes: sales taxes. Consumer taxes are extremely regressive in that the poor (which illegal immigrants often are) pay more as both a percentage of their income and in real dollars because they often can’t afford to buy in bulk or buy more durable products with a higher up-front cost. That’s called the poverty tax, and it’s why the “FairTax” is the least fair tax idea we could possibly have. Income taxes are a necessary but insufficient attempt to address that .
        2. Undocumented workers don’t know their workers’ rights, so your idea that they’re taking advantage of US hospitality is backwards. It’s our companies exploiting them. See for instance and

      2. Liberal thinkers seem to think that illegal is OK. I do not understand that. The liberal politicians let these illegal, oh, I mean undocumented, aliens in, let them stay, give them welfare, health care, let their kids become citizens as our health care and school systems pay… What is wrong with this picture?

        1. If you are here illegally, and do not know your rights, doesn’t that say something about one’s ability to productively contribute? I am sure lots of illegal aliens know how to get freebie benefits paid for by tax payers.

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