An intensive study conducted by The Washington Post has revealed that children in the U.S. are adapting President Donald Trump’s racist and xenophobic rhetoric in order to bully their classmates. The newspaper analyzed 28,000 articles spanning the course of Trump’s presidency that specifically referenced elementary, middle, and high school bullying.
The analysis revealed students frequently bullied other classmates in ways that were racist and xenophobic. More than 300 incidents were recorded of kids and even some staff members bullying others by using chants from his campaign rallies, and in some instances, by using his name.
Out of those instances, 75 percent involved inflammatory language that was directed at Hispanic, Muslim, and black students.
In one particularly shocking instance of bullying, a 12-year-old told a Mexican-American classmate that “all Mexicans should go back behind the wall.” When the student’s mother approached the bully to ask him about the remark, he allegedly beat her unconscious.
BuzzFeed News conducted its own analysis in 2017 and discovered 50 incidents in 26 states where kids harassed their classmates. This included instances where a white eighth-grader told a Filipino student “You are going to be deported,” and another instance in which a black student in Brea, California was told, “Now that Trump won, you’re going to have to go back to Africa where you belong.”
An online survey of more than 10,000 K-12 educators, conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center, found that at least 2,500 reported “specific incidents of bigotry and harassment that can be directly traced to election rhetoric.” The majority of these cases, however, never made the news. The SPLC found that the phrase “build the wall,” appeared in 476 incidents, while 672 mentioned deportation.