Schools should be havens. But right now, many of our students are scared, anxious, and feeling threatened. We are hearing from students and educators around the country who are encountering hostile, hateful environments in their schools and communities, with fake deportation notices being handed out and swastikas drawn in bathrooms. We are being flooded with reports of hate speech and images directed at students in our schools. Nooses. Racist graffiti. Threats to our LGBTQ students. Headscarves being torn off. Girls being assaulted. Children are hearing that they are not welcome in their schools and even in the country they call home.
There is no place for this in our schools. Educators know that this isn’t about politics, but simply that every student deserves a safe, welcoming, affirming learning environment. In fact, research shows that learning is stunted when the most basic need to feel safe and respected is not met. The three million members of the NEA and our allies are here to say: you are safe with me.