March 21, 2024

Las Vegas Sun Editorial: For the sake of children’s safety, adults must tone down the rhetoric

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The editorial board of the Lax Vegas Sun responds to the troubling finding that the nation’s harsh rhetoric and inflammatory language is having an effect on L-12 campuses–and it’s not good.

Any parent will testify that kids never stop listening to what the adults in their lives are saying. Sure, when we speak directly to them, they pretend not to hear a single word. But when adults are talking amongst themselves or discussing the latest news or politics, young people have a remarkable ability to capture almost every word.

Now, a Washington Post analysis of FBI crime data has shown that the Republican Party’s ongoing culture wars and the conversations and rhetoric of adults surrounding them are having a negative impact on children’s safety at school.

The analysis found increased rates of bullying and hate crimes against LGBTQ students in K-12 schools in states that recently passed anti-LGBTQ legislation.

However, the analysis’s implications go far beyond LGBTQ students and indicate that the GOP’s wars on immigration, critical race theory, women and so-called “woke” ideology could have grave implications for young people from a wide variety of backgrounds.

According to The Washington Post, the number of hate crimes on K-12 campuses has more than quadrupled in recent years. Importantly, the largest increases occurred in states that recently passed anti-LGBTQ legislation.

The level of violence is also increasing, with the number of hate incidents deemed serious enough to be reported to police more than doubling nationwide between 2015 and 2022. Again, the increases are higher in states that restrict the rights of sexual and gender minorities or limit the ability of school staff to discuss issues of gender and sexuality.

The findings confirm earlier reporting by The Post in February 2020 which found that, “Since (Donald) Trump’s rise to the nation’s highest office, his inflammatory language — often condemned as racist and xenophobic — has seeped into schools across America.”

The article went on to say that “kids as young as 6 (are) mimicking the president’s insults and the cruel way he delivers them. … At least three-quarters of the attacks were directed at kids who are Hispanic, Black or Muslim.”

Specific examples included middle-schoolers in Tennessee who linked arms to create a wall and refused to let nonwhite students enter the school. Teenagers in another state directed chants about “banning Muslims” at a classmate wearing a hijab.

Read the full editorial here. 

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