Reaction to the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

After taking some time for my own reflection on the historic political events that have occurred this past week, I thought I would share some articles and remind you with some sage advice:

You can remind students about the fundamental principles of limited government, separation of powers, and system of checks and balances; that laws and policies must go through a process as a way to check the actions of the President. While one political party will hold the majority in at least two of the three branches of the federal government, they are still checked by state governments and all of the people.

Please do not editorialize the results of the presidential election to your students. Should your students raise issues and concerns regarding the election results in class, please maintain a neutral stance or position; always acknowledge or share multiple sides of an argument or debate.

In the case where it’s about winners and losers, teach your students that winning is not everything; that by winning, we must be humble and we should not gloat. By losing, we must acknowledge and accept the outcome and be willing to work toward progress and justice. In life there are always as many successes as there are setbacks, and that we should always learn from our setbacks and move forward with hope. At the same time, everyone deserves a chance to demonstrate good leadership; that President-elect Trump deserves as much as anyone else to be given the chance to lead. Encourage students to watch Hillary Clinton’s concession speech.

Engage your students in a conversation about good character, which is essential to a strong and vibrant democracy. Remind students why bullying, bigotry, sexism, and racism have serious consequences in our society and why these behaviors are detrimental to democracy.

It is also important for students to learn about empathy and understanding. An important step after an election, especially a hard fought election that raises emotions, is to come together as a nation; otherwise, we will never move forward. President Obama’s reaction to the 2016 election is a good moment to watch and reflect.

Encourage positive civic discourse that allows for every person to feel comfortable and safe to express one’s opinion freely. Promote the mindset that it is okay to agree to disagree. Teach your students on how to express opinions without demonizing or insulting those who think differently or disagree.

Hope this helps.

Gorman Lee, Ed.D.
MCSS Past President (2014)
K-12 Director of Social Studies, Braintree Public Schools

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