Educators Report Rise in Bullying Behavior Post-Election

Pictured above: An educator uses a Welcoming Schools lesson plan addressing bias-based bullying in her classroom.

Post submitted by Michele Hatchell, Welcoming Schools Expert Trainer

A new Teaching Tolerance report, After Election Day, The Trump Effect: The Impact of the 2016 Presidential Election on Our Nation’s Schools, documents in stark detail how educators have seen school climates negatively affected by the results of the recent presidential campaign during which marginalized groups were targeted for derision and harassment.

The report compiles the results of a survey taken by more than 10,000 educators from across the nation.

Ninety percent of the educators surveyed reported that school climates have been harmed by the election of Donald Trump, and a majority said they believe the negative effects will continue to impact their school for some time. Teachers also reported heightened anxiety among immigrant, Muslim, African-American and LGBTQ students.

The teachers described an increase in the use among students of slurs and derogatory language, along with disturbing incidents involving swastikas, Nazi salutes and Confederate flags. The report also cited more than 2,500 specific incidents of bigotry and harassment that can be directly traced to election rhetoric — from assaults on both students and teachers to acts of vandalism depicting hate symbols and speech.

What Can We Do?

Many educators are wondering what they can do to foster healthier school climates during this difficult time. The report offers recommendations to help school leaders manage student anxiety and combat hate speech and acts of bias. Additionally, Welcoming Schools recommends the following resources:.

1. Use Welcoming Schools Lesson Plans

We particularly recommend our K-2 lesson “Words That Hurt, Words That Heal”, and using the book One by Kathryn Otoshi to work with young children to practice kindness and inclusion. ”Ally or Bystander” is an effective lesson plan for students in grades 3-6, and teaches students how to react to bullying incidents in the moment.

To see our lesson plans in action, check out our film ”What Can We Do?”, which showcases experienced educators using Welcoming Schools lesson plans and best practices.

2. Bring A Welcoming Schools Facilitator To Your School

Welcoming Schools cadre of national facilitators are available to provide professional development to your staff to improve school climate. Contact us today to talk about holding a training at your school.

For more resources on how you can support LGBTQ youth who have been affected by the election results, click here.

To learn more about HRC’s work with children and youth, visit

For more information about bullying, click here and click here.

For more information about cyberbullying, click here.

HRC’s Welcoming Schools is the nation’s premier program dedicated to creating respectful and supportive elementary schools in embracing family diversity, creating LGBTQ-inclusive schools, preventing bias-based bullying, creating gender-expansive schools, and supporting transgender and non-binary students.