Bigotry will never make America great
Dear Editor: The election has now passed and President-elect Trump begins his transition to the White House, assembles his team and begins to implement campaign promises. Given the divisiveness of the campaign, he has now been challenged with the added task to unite and heal the nation. I would add, to explain. What does he say to the children of our country? Or perhaps it is what he has already said and what we must say to our children now.
We teach diversity and inclusion. How do we explain that our new president wants to exclude people based upon religious practice and skin color?
Where education over the last several decades has worked to integrate classrooms and include students of all capabilities, how do we explain a president who mocked a physically challenged reporter on national television?
Where respect is a core value of the educational mission, how do we explain to our students who repeatedly heard derogatory words, in some cases too “locker room” to repeat?
Bullying is a national crisis that has resulted in teen/ young adult suicide, depression and substance abuse. And yet, Trump used bullying tactics throughout his campaign, but, when asked it he had any regrets, said, “No, I won.” Do we now also teach that the “end justifies the means”?
The Freeman — “Mid-Hudson school superintendents watching for Trump-related behavior problems,” Nov. 16, 2016 — quoted our local school superintendents on their “heightened sense of awareness about harassment and bullying” following the election. Indeed, racists incidents in some our nation’s schools have already been reported by The Associated Press. Do we reverse our leadby-example posture? How do we explain?
Politics can lead to teachable moments. It is time to put politics aside and search for explainable moments, where we help our children understand that bigotry instills fear and hatred; does not unite, but divides; does not heal, but festers. And will never make us great.
Maureen Bowers, Hurley The writer is a former member of the Kingston Board of Education.