Superintendent Calls For Civility Following Incidents At Public Schools

There have been increases in ‘hurtful language’ against minority students and staff.

Frederick, Md. (KM)  The election of 2016 has produced a lot of raw emotions all across the country, with incidents directed at racial and religious minorities, and those who supported President-elect Donald Trump. And that includes Frederick County Public Schools. “We are aware of instances where hurtful language has been directed at minority groups, and, unfortunately, directed personally at our students. And that is never appropriate,” says Dr. Theresa Alban, Superintendent of Frederick County Public Schools.

“We respect everyone’s right to freedom of expression. But we cannot tolerate personal, hurtful language directed at our students and our staff,” she said.

Dr. Alban delivered her comments in a YouTube post.

Since Trump was elected last week, there have been demonstrations by high school students and other citizens across the country. They were protesting Trump’s positions on issues such as  immigration, Muslims, Hispanics and women.

On Wednesday, about 300 to 500 students walked out of Richard Montgomery High School. A Trump supporter wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap accompanied them. Rockville Police say the 15-year-old student got into an argument with one person, and four other joined in. Media reports say the student was assaulted. He was taken to the hospital by ambulance. Police believe the student’s injuries are minor.

Other than that, officers say, the march was peaceful.

Dr. Alban said in her YouTube video the election’s impact has gone beyond students. “I also want to remind everyone that our teachers and our administrators  have their own personal opinions about the election, and sometimes it’s really hard to separate that personal opinion from your professional responsibility as an educator,” she said. The Superintendent said there are resources available for teachers who want to discuss the election with their students in a way that places learning first.

She reminded anyone who  witnesses someone directing hurtful language to a student or staff member to report it to an administrator as soon as possible. “We encourage our students to participate in the community, to serve the community,” says Dr. Alban. “Civic engagement is very important. But respect and civility are equally important.”

School System spokesman Michael Doerrer told The Associated Press that since Trump’s election, administrators have seen an increase in hurtful remarks about immigration, deportation and building a wall along the Mexican border.

By Kevin McManus