Today, the Superintendent of Council Rock School District – one district over from where I went to high school – had to send out this letter:
Dear CRN School Community –
Please know that, sadly, we have experienced acts of vandalism and harassment at Council Rock North in the aftermath of Tuesday’s presidential election.
One incident occurred in a girls’ restroom, where on a hanging piece of paper someone wrote “I Love Trump,” a derogatory comment about people who are gay, and drew three swastikas. In a different girls’ restroom, someone wrote the following graffiti directly onto a toilet paper dispenser: “If Trump wins, watch out!” In a boys’ restroom, two swastikas were drawn directly onto a restroom stall. In addition, a Latina student found that a note had been placed in her backpack telling her to return to Mexico. There is a related report of inappropriate comments being made to Latino students as well.
I cannot emphasize strongly enough how inappropriate these actions are and that they simply will not be tolerated. These incidents have been reported to the Newtown Township Police Department and an investigation is being conducted by both the police department and the school district.
By writing this message to our parents, my hope is that we can collectively wrap our arms around this issue and stop any further incidents from occurring. We are better than this, and ours is a community that must be based upon a mutual respect for ALL people, and ALL of Council Rock. I regret needing to write this message, and I do want to emphasize that these actions are likely the responsibility of a very small number of individuals whose actions should not damage the reputation of the larger group.
And this is one of far too many acts of hatred that has happened in the last two days, since Donald Trump has won the election. There were a serious of acts of racist and anti-Semitic graffiti in S. Philly yesterday. This morning, someone had spray painted “KKK” on the steps of the School District. An #SLA graduate student of color was told, “Go back where you came from” in a store outside her college campus today by a white young woman. Someone painted “Black Lives Don’t Matter” on a wall in Durham, NC. Someone wrote “Trump!” on the door to a Muslim student prayer room at NYU. (cite: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/day-1-trumps-america_us_582497afe4b0cdd5e7e99e86)
The list goes on and on…
And there’s only one thing that makes me more sick about all these attacks than the attacks themselves. It’s that the President-elect – who wants us to believe, if one takes his Election Night speech on its merits, that he wants to heal the nation – has been silent. And no, I didn’t really have an expectation that he would speak up. And no, I don’t really believe that he has any understanding what it means to be the President of all Americans, nor any desire to be the President of all Americans. But that’s what he is now, and as such, he has the moral obligation to condemn these acts that people are committing in his name and under what they presume is the protection of his election.
His silence is noted. His silence must be met with our voices.
For we who refuse to allow these actions to define our country have an obligation to protect those who are attacked, have an obligation to call for the legal system to take action against those who perpetrate them, and have an obligation to call out all those in power who either do nothing to stop them or, through their words and actions, give cover to those who commit them.
We cannot be silent in the face of hate and bigotry. We cannot allow our silence to further embolden those who would seek to spread terror. We must guarantee – with our words and our actions – that the civil rights of all Americans must be protected and defended.
Anything less than that is simply un-American.