Following the election, reports of harassment and bullying in schools are on the rise
On Tuesday, November 8, The United States elected its 45th president, Donald J. Trump. During his campaign, Trump promised a national registry for Muslim Americans, proposed building a wall on the border with Mexico, and was videotaped talking about grabbing women by their genitals.
Regardless of who they voted for, people in Mammoth have expressed distress over the election and its effect on children, some of whom have questioned their safety following Trump’s victory. The Sheet spoke with parents, teachers and students this week about their feelings in the wake of the election.
Erin LeFrancois teaches U.S Government at Mammoth High School, and said “this is the most divisive election I have ever taught in twenty-four years of teaching.” LeFrancois said she was in the middle of teaching a unit about the executive branch on election day. “We’ve had an open dialogue and I’ve tried to field [students’] questions in an unbiased manner, and that’s been hard at times.” LeFrancois said she had never had so many students ask her for help registering to vote, and that she had two students who traveled to Ohio over school breaks to volunteer for political campaigns. “I have also had students say that there was fear.”
Taylor Kumlue said that a student in her daughter’s eighth grade class left school in tears the day after the election results were finalized. “She was terrified for her parents, and wondering if they were undocumented,” said Kumlue.
In his 2015 article “The Quiet Force” published by Powder Magazine, Mammoth’s David Page cited Cornell University Sociologist Daniel Lichter when he called Mammoth Lakes one of a handful of “Hispanic boomtowns.” The 2010 census indicated that 34 percent of the community was Hispanic. Mammoth Lakes Police Department estimates that 50 percent of the community is Hispanic, and Page reported that 50 percent of the students in Mammoth Unified School District were Hispanic.
In 2014, The Pew Research Center reported that Mexicans made up 52 percent of unauthorized immigrants in 2014 and unauthorized immigrants made up 5 percent of the United States’ workforce.
Donald Trump’s promise to deport undocumented immigrants and build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico was a central focus of his campaign. “In our Spanish class we were talking about how Hispanic people have been getting harassed,” said one Mammoth Middle School student who asked not to be named while eating lunch at Giovanni’s pizzeria. The Sheet responded by asking if any students had been harassed at Mammoth.
“Yes, but it’s not a big deal. I feel like it’s more of a joke,” she said. “Do you think it’s funny?” responded The Sheet. At that point the table of five eighth grade students, all Hispanic, fell silent.