Q: Last week: My 5 year old asks me “Mommy, is Donald Trump a bad person?” I respond ” yes he is.” He goes “well my teacher asked ‘who is Donald trump?’ And I raised my hand and when she called on me I said ‘he’s a bad person.’ but my teacher said ‘no hes not.'” Now fast forward to this week: two days in a row my child has received a red card for unacceptable behavior in the classroom for doing things like talking (to himself) during instruction, and helping a friend (albeit his best friend in the class) who didn’t know the directions. At first I was upset with my child for poor behavior and we did talk to him about this but now that I’m thinking on it more it seems like my child has a target on his back for his stance on Donald Trump. His teacher IS an older white woman who probably is a Trump supporter but why was she even asking this question to a group of 5 year olds in the first place?? We will see how the rest of this week goes but I’m ready to send a strongly worded email and set up a conference with his teacher and the principal. Help!

 

A: Firstly, BREATHE. Cause I’d be ready for jail with my good shoes, drawstring less hoodie and a watch to keep time in the cell.

The reason why your child’s teacher asked a group of kindergarten students who Donald Trump is was because he is the President of the United States. Fair enough. The motive behind her question and more importantly her reaction to your son’s answer, is why every reader should be concerned about this.

Because your child is of color, he will undoubtedly face more unfair and more severe punishment for minor offenses. Allowing him room to process the wrongness of such treatment, while giving him the vocabulary to express the emotions is part one of our resolution. The guilt, fear and anxiety that transpire during and after such confrontations with non parental authority would be my focus to suggest first. How did being told he was wrong make him feel? Especially when he’s very right.

Donald Trump is a bad man. Those who say otherwise stand accused of aligning with a bigoted, racist, xenophobic, rapist. In addition, his cabinet picks are unqualified and put our communities at risk. Case in point: the nomination and vote in favor of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. People within the extreme/alt/right wing have paved and paid the way for people like DeVos.  Their goals of dismantlement are at the expense of the voiceless, marginalized and oppressed. Their goals remain for the benefit of the privileged few. Donald Trump and his cabinet are not “good” people and their goodness as individuals is not up for debate with small children.

 

So fuck that teacher for saying he wasn’t a bad man. Impulsively I’d say they need to be out of the classroom for asserting that a student couldn’t disagree with her personal opinion or definition OF bad. The problem with certain teachers like this one is that they disregard the importance of non biased education. This could be by choice or by accident but intentions only mean so much. The result is still that children are experiencing a tug of war between politically aware parents who see Trump as a threat and politically biased teachers.

Politics are fundamentally vital to the education of our youth. Explaining to your son who Donald Trump is, why he has a support base, why he has critics and why people are protesting him right now, opens up discussions for you two to have.

These discussions can become daily occurrences for you both and allows you to practice proactive parenting. when the racist English teacher you have been hearing about FINALLY SHOWS HIS ASS, the proactive parent is there, notebook in hand and fully motivated to file complaints and be an active presence in the environment they rely on to teach their children.

Some schools and staff would rather you let them run the class and you run your home: challenge them. You are your child’s first protector from fascist indoctrination.

I would suggest meeting with the teacher and principal separately on the same day. You don’t want them discussing this without your concerns being clearly explained to the two other parties. Then schedule a time to meet with both staff present. Bring a partner or support person to advocate for your right to discuss why this situation made you feel uncomfortable.

Bad people take office. American exceptionalism must be smashed.  Many of our Presidents have been bad men considering the perspective of the student. That is a lesson to teach 5 year olds.

1. Email first and really take your time. Outline and bullet point so it’s appealing to the eye

2. Meet with the teacher first, making sure the principal expects you after. (This takes some savvy scheduling, if it’s easier to have both in the room, do it!)

3. Meet with the principal and the teacher, bringing a copy of your letter.

4. Be present with resolutions. What do you want out of this? What would you like your child to hear if he again says Trump is a bad man, person or President?

5. Remain vigilant on a regular basis


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