Glendale, CA — In the weeks leading up to the presidential elections, and on election day itself, public school teachers in the Glendale Unified School District allegedly encouraged students to beat and kick piñata effigies of Donald Trump (video below).
One week later, in response to anti-Trump student protests, the superintendent of Glendale’s public schools assured parents that faculty and staff will provide safety and support to students who select to “exercise their political rights” to “express themselves” on high school campuses.
Get that? Public school teachers and staff will protect high school protestors disrupting classes and intimidating peers, their bullying tactics now apparently elevated to the status of “political rights”.
Winfred B. Roberson, Jr. is the Superintendent of Schools for the Glendale Unified School District, overseeing the education of over 26,000 students enrolled in 30 public schools in Glendale, California.
Here is Superintendent Roberson’s complete email statement:
Good Evening GUSD Parents and Guardians,
The November 8 presidential elections have created an atmosphere that is not only impacting adults, but has also affected young people around our nation. Locally and across the country students have organized rallies to express their feeling and opinions about our democracy. Last Thursday, some GUSD students selected to exercise their political rights through a peaceful sit-in at one of our high school campuses; perhaps others may wish to express themselves as well. Wherever our students are, GUSD’s caring adults will meet them there and provide safety and support (emphasis added).
We respect that families and students have diverse views on the election outcomes. Regardless of political preference, GUSD adults are committed to the physical and emotional safety of all our students while in our care. Please know that if at any time your student does not feel safe while on campus he/she should immediately locate the closest adult for assistance. GUSD teachers, counselors, administrators and classified staff are sensitive to what students are going through right now and will continue to guide students through this emotional time (emphasis added). Here are some strategies that we’ve shared with our teachers and site staff:
- Allow students to talk about their feelings, acknowledging their concerns and reassuring students that they are safe.
- Review classroom rules and expectations for responsible citizenship.
- Keep students focused in the present moment and the work for the particular day.
- Watch for students who do not express their concerns verbally. Remain calm and reassuring should they express impatience, anger, or regressive behaviors.
- Take advantage of school resources if students do not seem to be coping well. Connect with your school counselor, psychologist and/or nurse for classroom support, or to work with students who may need individual support.
(Shared From SDUSD)
We are grateful that our students live in a caring community and are proud to partner with GUSD parents to support our students as they learn about the evolving and transitioning world we live in.
I am forever optimistic that goodwill and human empathy will prevail in our nation and that the institutions that we count on to teach, lead, and protect will rise above the current discourse. Things constantly change around us and I am confident that we as American citizens have the capacity to move forward, help one another and at all cost provide safe and caring learning environments for all our students.
Thank you for your support and partnership. Your suggestions and ideas are always welcome.
Winfred B. Roberson, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools
In case Superintendent Roberson does not yet know, here is what students “are going through right now” in one Glendale school. Teachers organized and participated in Trump piñata bashing fests, encouraging students to join in the violence.
While there are unconfirmed reports from students at Glendale high School that one substitute teacher has been fired, no one in authority at the high school has returned repeated calls for clarification or comment.
Some white students felt uncomfortable at the display, privately describing the event racist, but were afraid to object because the events were organized by GUSD teachers, you know, those self-same “caring GUSD adults” Superintendent Roberson encourages students to go to “if they do not feel safe on campus.”
These GUSD adults did not appear to be concerned with the emotional safety of those intimidated students. How in the world does a teacher-sponsored event such as this “provide safe and caring learning environments for all our students”? This is in fact systemic bullying.
Since he’s asking, here are my suggestions and advice for Superintendent Roberson: Drop the squishy PC speech coddling these activities. High school students are minor children in school to learn the three Rs, not participate in disruptive political activism which takes time out of class. Certainly, their limited Constitutional rights do not give them any “right” to ditch class, to disrupt others wanting to learn, or to intimidate people with violent displays of intimidation and bullying. Tell those children who skip class for any political protest on campus or off campus to get their triggered, self-absorbed little behinds back to class ASAP or face suspension. Or is it now the official policy of the school district that every election day is a free pass for students to skip class or disrupt school as they please?
Mr. Roberson, it is your job to ensure that all GUSD teachers are teaching approved academic subjects and respect for the rule of our laws and democratic system, not using their positions of trust to foment classroom violence or any brand of political activism or hate. Discipline those teachers and staff who encourage this form of disregard for state law and waste public education dollars organizing such events. Discipline those teachers who use biased political intimidation tactics veiled as “teaching.”
You should be all over the teachers who organized the Trump piñata beating events. The teachers who instigated and participated should be strongly disciplined or fired, and you should mount a thorough investigation to determine whether any other teachers engaged in similar violent displays while on school time and in the scope of their employment.