Tears streamed down frustrated faces. Anger and confusion ran through the minds of millions of people across America. Sighs of relief and shouts of joy escaped others. On the morning of Nov. 9, thousands headed to the streets to express their anger, chanting phrases such as “Not My President” and “Love Trumps Hate.” Many in our community came to school with signs stating comments like “LOL, I just wanted fundamental rights,” and others were wearing all black to signify the “death” of America. A few students arrived wearing Bernie Sanders shirts or “Make America Great Again” hats. And on social media, attacks were flying from both directions.
The news of the President-elect brought out many emotions of students and created a divide in the school’s community. A line has been drawn between Trump and non-Trump supporters, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to escape it. Many students still label Trump supporters as racists, sexists and homophobes. The election has caused quite a bit of pain on both sides, but the only way to prevent the further escalation of conflict is to be understanding of others’ views.
The country has chosen a president, and while many people may be distraught, we should not let it affect our school community. And although many Hillary Clinton supporters may be disappointed, it is not constructive or helpful to discount others’ views or label them with demeaning titles. Students who support Donald Trump should not feel intimidated to express their views and excitement, and our community and our country should not feel that it is wrong to support our nation’s leader. However, many still feel that it may damage their image or even hurt their relationships.
The staff feels that it is completely acceptable to protest peacefully and bring up constructive solutions to problems facing our nation, but to discredit others for their political views are wrong and has no place in our school community nor in our country. On the other hand, we feel that it is inconsiderate for Trump supporters to flaunt the results of the election. It is important that we close the divide in our community through an understanding of other students’ opinions. Even if certain students are overwhelmingly happy with the election results, it is important to understand that others may have different opinions that are equally as strong. While some students may feel distressed by the results, this does not mean that everyone’s opinions should be censored or that some should not express them at all. Students need to use their common sense to understand when they are expressing their opinion and when they are being rude.
There has been so much agitation over this election, from the moment Trump announced that he was running for President to the moment he started choosing his presidential staff. If students feel that they need to express their opinions, they should know that there are more productive methods than using insulting comments. Students should recognize that they have the ability to spread ideas, have constructive debates or protest peacefully. These actions can be taken by students on both sides of the aisle who have passionate opinions and who hope to contribute to the building of a stronger community. Though the country is divided, that does not mean that the school has to be. Our school has always prided itself on being a diverse and inclusive community and that entails being accepting and respectful of others’ opinions.