After The Election

City High students and faculty and their thoughts in the aftermath of an unusual election.

The day after the election, English teacher Mandy Sotillo got online and searched for ways to address all of her students about the results.

“In previous elections, I had an easier time remaining neutral, but it’s really hard for me with this election, when there’s been such hateful rhetoric,” Sotillo said. “I have students on both sides of the party line…I want every student to feel safe and respected in my class.” 

A tweet from @JBacon23 posted Nov. 12, just days after the election.

Sotillo is aware of the challenges that are presented when teaching students with different political beliefs, but likes to think of it as a way to bring meaningful conversations to the table. One new conversation that has developed: a group of like-minded students from both City and West have formed a group to combat a perceived hateful rhetoric that they feel has been on the rise since the start of the election.

The members of the organization they call Students against Hate and Discrimination (SAHD) come from various religious, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds but all have one thing in common: they want their stories to be heard.

SAHD made an appearance at a school board meeting on November 22nd. There, they came forward with a list of eight demands for the school board. The first demand read as follows:

“Clear support from faculty and administration must be shown and a statement made against bullying and harassment. Students do not currently feel safe at school. This disrupts our ability to learn and participate fully in our education. We must see and hear renewed commitment from our teachers and administrators…”

By the end of the meeting, the school board had agreed to meet SAHD’s first demand and had even set a deadline for initiative to be taken on the scholastic level.

On the flip side, Max Meyer ’18 does not feel at all threatened by a Trump presidency.

“I expect that gas will be cheaper, the heating bill will probably go down. Not much,” he said. But make no mistake, Meyer is not a fan of the president elect. “I did not and do not support Donald Trump…When the primary season started, I had hoped that we would see a candidate with more respect for the constitutional system and the rule of law than our current President.”

The night of the election, Hillary supporter and SAHD member Anthony Murphy ‘20 says, he woke up at four in the morning anxious to check results. He was disappointed, but not surprised. He’d seen it coming in the polls before going to sleep. Murphy spoke of a division he has witnessed since Trump was elected. He believes that one thing the election has done, however, is start a conversation.

Meyer said that even he has experienced a great amount of negativity coming from peers who disagree with his conservative beliefs. He hopes that the results of this election will bring some perspective to the liberal party.

”I hope that free speech will again be valued in education,” said Meyer. “That we will do away with the culture of trigger warnings and safe spaces, with the idea that we need to be shielded from ideas that we are too sensitive to face, and with the left’s culture of victimhood.”

On Friday, November 11th, an estimated 150-200 students walked out of school at 2:30. Some even carried Anti-Trump signs in a display of opposition to the next president. According to several student accounts, protesters made their way downtown with numbers increasing as they marched.

“There were many different people from lots of different backgrounds,” Principal Bacon said, “[saying] that ‘Hey, we’re all going to stand together and respect each other.’ ”

Principal Bacon, when asked about a possible rise in tensions after the election, said that he hadn’t seen much other than a bumper sticker removed from a car.

Bacon then went on to say that although some may be upset, invading another student’s property is always inexcusable.

“A lot of people have forgotten to treat others around them who may have voted differently with respect,” said another student who did not want to be identified. “Even if that [person] feels like [someone] doesn’t deserve it, they do.”

City High freshman Destanie Gibsen said that  she was angered by much of the president’s comments throughout his campaign, and she isn’t the only one. According to a June report by the Washington Post, Trumps unfavorability rate hit 7/10 during his campaign, a record low. Gibsen was more concerned with how Trump’s comments will have an impact in the years to come than any actions that he plans to take.

“What he has said about black people is unacceptable,” Gibsen said.

Ida*, a student at City, said she was both surprised and unhappy that despite Trump’s contentious remarks and other actions she felt were inexcusable, he was still going to be the next POTUS.

“I don’t feel safe,” she said.

She then went on to explain that it wasn’t because of Trump or any of his current political plans, but because she was afraid that some of his more radical supporters may take his presidency as incentive to act out against minorities such as herself.

Ida, like Meyer, thinks that not much has changed at school since the election. She however, believes the administration should be doing more to support its marginalized bodies, naming its LGBTQ and students of color amongst others. One thing that she said really stood out?

“I feel like this is a time where we really need to come together and [not] lose our values and our morals.”

*These names have been changed to protect privacy