Clap your hands, America! We did it!

We're number one! U-S-A! U-S-A! Photo via iStock.


Our presidential election is officially scaring the ever-loving bejeezus out of children.

U-S-A? U-S-A? Photo via iStock.

Thanks, in no small part, to this guy:

Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images.

The Southern Poverty Law Center surveyed 2,000 teachers and school officials about how the 2016 election was affecting their classrooms.

None of the questions on the survey mentioned Trump by name.

But it's pretty much impossible to read the responses without concluding that The Donald is the main nightmare-driver for America's youth, particularly youth of color.

The numbers are scary.

The report found that 67% of the educators questioned reported hearing students of color — Muslims and Latinos especially, but also African-Americans and others — express fear for their and their families' futures after the election was over.

An immigrant rights rally in Washington D.C. Photo by Mandel Ngan/Getty Images.

More than 33% reported a general rise in nasty comments about Muslims and immigrants.

"One of my students who is Muslim is worried that he will have to wear a microchip identifying him as Muslim."

More than 40% reported feeling nervous about bringing the election up in class.

The quotes from teachers and school administrators are even scarier than the numbers (all respondents were quoted anonymously).

Protestors at a Trump rally in New York. Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images.

On how the tone in their classrooms is much, much different this time:

"Kids are asking frightened questions, rather thanpositive ones," one teacher responded.

"The hateful speech of Trump has frightened my eighth graders," said another.

On how students have internalized the bigoted rhetoric emerging from the campaign trail:

"One of my students who isMuslim is worried that he will have to wear a microchipidentifying him as Muslim."

"I have noticed that many of our students, as young as first grade, are asking questions about what may happento their family members that are here without theproper documentation."

"A student has been called terrorist and ISIS. Another was told he would be deported if Trump wins."

On what students of color think their fellow Americans think of them:

"My Hispanic students seem dejected about not only Donald Trump's rhetoric, but also about the amount of people who seem to agree with him. They feel sure that Americans, their fellow students, and even their teachers hate them (regardless of their citizenship)."

"My students are frustrated with the racism andprejudice that is emerging from the presidentialcampaign. They are scared of what will happen andthey feel helpless."

Keep in mind: This is just a small sample of what these teachers and school administers had to say. There are over 200 pages of these kinds of statements. You can go read the whole thing if you want. I'm not sure you want to, but you can.

A couple important caveats about the report:

It's just a single survey and a nonscientific one at that.

The types of teachers who respond to a survey from the SPLC — an organization chartered to fight racism — could be more likely to speak up about injustice and the impact of bigotry on their schools and students than teachers who aren't as tuned in to these issues.

But, win or lose, the Trump campaign's race-based fearmongering has already begun to bleed out into the real world.

Students at an Iowa High School were heard chanting "Trump! Trump!" after losing a basketball game to a school with a higher percentage of Latino students.

In Wisconsin, high school students reportedly yelled "Donald Trump, build that wall!" at players of color on an opposing soccer team.

Pro- and anti-Trump supporters argue in Utah. Photo by George Frey/Getty Images.

A Kansas man allegedly chanted "Trump! Trump! Trump!" while beating a Hispanic man and a Muslim man, after subjecting them to a round of racial slurs.

Trump supporters have assaulted nonwhite protestors at actual Trump rallies.

A black woman was shoved — repeatedly — at a Trump event in Kentucky.

A teenage protestor was pepper-sprayed in the face at a Trump rally in Wisconsin.

A Trump supporter told a group of protestors to "Go to Auschwitz," while giving what appeared to be a Nazi salute.

Two assailants beat up and urinated on a homeless man in Boston while reportedly said, "Trump was right. All these illegals need to be deported."

A Trump speech prompted a young Muslim girl in Texas to fear that the army was going to come and take her family and her away, prompting members of the military to rally to her defense.

It's no wonder our kids are scared.

Even one child frightened is too many. Hundreds is a national disgrace.

Scientific or not, the survey reveals that many, many children — particularly children of color — are indeed frightened about what might happen this November. For good reason. The list of truly terrifying things Trump has said and/or pledged to do is long — and growing.

Liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, we owe it to them to stop this guy:

Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images.

But more than that, we owe it to them to undo the damage Trump has already done by creating space for racist violence and speech to thrive. That means we need to call out hateful, biased rhetoric when we see it, and make it clear that, no matter what our political beliefs are, bigotry has no place in politics.

Once we do that, we can get back to arguing about what really matters.

Not actually what they were really saying. But a man can dream.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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