Michigan Superintendent Addresses ‘A New Low’ and Post-Election Bullying
Michigan Department of Education State Superintendent Brian Whiston has issued a statement about post-election bullying in Michigan schools.
Bullying in schools has drawn increased attention since last week's election. Some cases have been related to the presidential election. Last week, a video showed students chanting "build the wall" at a middle school in Michigan.
Grand Rapids mayor Rosalynn Bliss has called on citizens to "model the behavior we wish to see."
MDOE Superintendent Brian Whiston's statement addresses incidents in Michigan schools since the election and the role parents and teachers are expected to play. Whiston's statement says:
Since the U.S. Presidential election last week, there have been a number of reported incidents in Michigan schools of students harassing, bullying, intimidating, and using hateful speech toward other students.I realize that certainly at the national level over the past year, we saw the debate go to a new low, and that is impacting the actions, demeanor, and mood in some of our schools.Our schools must be safe havens for our children – free from hate; free from intimidation; free from bullying; and free from fear.We need to cultivate and develop in our students a steadfast respect for all others, inclusive of race, religion, orientation, or social-economic standing. We must not let political rhetoric and actions diminish the positive learning environments we’ve worked so hard to nourish.I ask that educators at all levels, from principals to teachers to parents, help their students understand that bullying and intimidation – in word and action – is unacceptable and will have consequences.
No political party has a monopoly on hate or love, but all political parties have a responsibility to demonstrate tolerance towards all people and beliefs. Our children are watching.