The classroom, the ballot and the big bad wall — Oakland’s children tackle the Trump effect

  • left arrow
  • 1
  • 2
  • right arrow

One afternoon in the middle of summer, Beatriz Valencia’s son Jonathan came home with a question. The 7-year-old wanted to know if his mom knew that Donald Trump was running for president. Valencia had avoided discussing the election in front of her children; the question, she said, came out of nowhere. But she told Jonathan that yes, she knew.

His face changed. He didn’t want Trump to become president, he said, because he was scared that he would be sent to Mexico with his dad, his sister and his grandmother. “But you will have to stay here,” he told his mom, because Valencia is lighter-skinned than his other relatives.

The Valencia family has been American citizens for years. But for Jonathan, the Republican candidate’s rhetoric held only one message: People who look like him are not welcome here.

“I did try to explain that we’re here legally, we’re not going anywhere, and that that’s the reason why it’s my first time voting,” Valencia said, two days before the election. “To reassure him that there are lots of people like me who are voters and who will raise up our voice this time. And we’re going to make sure our kids are safe.”

Two days later, Valencia put her children to bed as electoral maps on the TV news turned red. She cried when Trump was announced the president-elect. In the morning, Jonathan asked who won the election, hoping something had changed. “I don’t want him as a president,” he said to his mom, while Valencia told him he didn’t need to worry.

Just under a quarter of Oakland’s residents are children and teenagers. The city is one of the most diverse in the nation, and home to many immigrants. It is one of the first sanctuary cities in the United States, where undocumented immigrants are afforded some protection from prosecution by federal authorities. Latino children now represent the largest ethnic group in Oakland under the age of 20.

For many of Oakland’s Latino, Muslim and LGBT youth, this year’s election has brought fear and anger. Trump’s campaign promises to deport undocumented immigrants have distressed children, many of whom recognize the dog-whistle of white nationalism under Trump’s words and worry about family separation even if they are US citizens. For some children, the Republican’s campaign has brought a sudden awareness of racial difference; for others, a shock that the person chosen as leader of their country does not abide by the simple rules of respect that govern their classrooms.

In April the Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal advocacy group known for their work combatting intolerance and discrimination, published an unprecedented report on the effect of Trump’s campaign on the nation’s classrooms. In a survey that garnered some 2,000 responses, educators reported an increase in anti-Muslim or anti-immigrant sentiment in their schools, with many writing that children had expressed concerns or fears about what might happen to them or their families after the election.

A second survey in the weeks after the election received over 10,000 responses. Nine out of 10 respondents said they had seen a negative effect on students’ mood and behavior following the election. Many said they had heard derogatory language directed at students of color, Muslims and immigrants, citing specific incidents that could be directly traced to Trump’s campaign messaging such as white students telling their Hispanic peers that they will be thrown “back over the wall.” Half of responding teachers said they were hesitant to discuss the election in class, and some had been told by principals to refrain from addressing the election in any way.

“Teachers should really be looking at their students as if they have experienced trauma,” said Maureen Costello, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance program, which carried out the reports. “Those kids are terrified. And their families are terrified.”

Faced with their children’s questions, Oakland teachers and parents have looked for ways to soothe concerns in the face of playground rumors and a 24-hour news cycle—as well as opportunities to teach students about the electoral process. For the youngest students, this fall has been a chance to discover how the country elects its president, and what kind of qualities make a good leader. For older students, it’s been a chance to talk about the idea of a woman in the White House, the real issues under the one-liners, and the importance of reliable news sources. And for teachers and parents, it’s been a lesson in staying optimistic, keeping composure, and responding with resilience.

*

It’s a week before the election, and second-grade teacher Karen Schreiner is smiling down at her class of 7- and 8-year-olds. Her classroom reflects her school: 96 percent Latino, with a majority of students from low-income families, eligible for free school lunches. The children, cross-legged on the carpet, are watching their teacher act out a modified version of a Hillary Clinton speech—she’s swapped the word “country” for “school,” and “president” for “principal,” bringing the election into a world her students know and understand. The previous week, she had done the same with a Trump speech. 

“Pay attention to how you are feeling,” Schreiner tells her students as she reads. “Pay attention to the words that pop out to you. They’re chosen on purpose to make us feel a certain way.”

All eyes are on Schreiner, in her blue dress, pink cardigan and sneakers; the only footwear appropriate for a teacher who is kept on her toes from first bell to last. The children, engrossed, respond with a thumbs-up when Schreiner says something they agree with.

“Together we’ve built this school from scratch. This is about all of you, and about what we can do together,” Schreiner reads.

“I’m seeing some agrees. Do you agree with what I’m saying?” she asks, breaking away from the text.

The children wave thumbs in the air.

“Everyone agrees that our great school was based on a simple idea,” she continues, “and that idea is fairness.”

This lesson is part of a unit created by Schreiner and her colleagues, which aims to teach elementary students about the election. Schreiner’s goal is to ensure her class understands who can vote, and why people should care about and be involved in the democratic process. She also sees the election as an opportunity to discuss with students why it is important for people to respect each other, even when they disagree.

Schreiner hasn’t told the class who authored the speech, but the students have already figured out her big reveal. When she tells them the speech was really from presidential candidate, they write down who they think might have given it. This week’s speech—the one originally given by Clinton—is a hit. Barack Obama is a popular guess, and there’s a vote for Abraham Lincoln. Nobody thinks it could have been Trump. One girl writes, “Hillary Clinton because she is nice.”

Earlier this year, Schreiner was one of five recipients of the national Award for Excellence in Teaching, given by the Southern Poverty Law Canter’s Teaching Tolerance program. Teaching Tolerance aims to reduce bias in classrooms, and provides resources and advice to educators. Schreiner has spent the past six years developing an anti-bias curriculum to help students improve their social skills, learn to talk about their emotions, and speak confidently about issues such as race, gender, family structures and classism.

Teaching Tolerance was also the organization behind the widely-shared report released in April, titled The Trump Effect: The Impact of the Presidential Campaign on Our Nation’s Schools. Costello, the director at Teaching Tolerance, said she had “a hunch” that something troubling was taking place in classrooms across the country after hearing reports in the media of racist taunts at school games: of anti-Semitic remarks being made at a game between a Jewish and a Catholic school, of a basketball game between predominantly white and Latino schools descending into chants of “Build a wall!”

In late March, they asked educators subscribing to the Teaching Tolerance newsletter, and those visiting their website, to fill in a survey. They asked questions like: Have you seen any increasing concern around your immigrant or Muslim students? Has the election discourse affected your students? Do you have any concerns about teaching the election?

The survey was hardly scientific, but the size of the response surprised Costello. Teachers across the United States reported a rise in intolerance in their classrooms, focused on immigrant and Muslim students. In Wisconsin, one educator wrote: “At the all-white school where I teach, ‘dirty Mexican’ has become a common insult. Before election season it was never heard.” A teacher in Washington state reported that after fellow students repeatedly shouted slurs from their cars at one Muslim teenager, the girl expressed suicidal thoughts. In California, teachers reported their students’ biggest concern was deportation and the prospect of families being separated.

Forty percent of respondents said they were hesitant to teach about the election. More than two-thirds said their students had expressed concerns or fears about what might happen to them or their families after the vote. Schools in Democratic heartlands were as likely to report incidents of racism or discrimination as those in red states. “There’s no state at this point that does not have an immigrant population,” Costello said. “Anywhere you have it, you have the Trump effect.”

The main predictor of whether a school had experienced instances of intolerance was the degree to which the school was demographically mixed. “A school that had served immigrant students and families, or that had any kid of Muslim population whatsoever, or had students of color, reported more negative impact,” said Costello.

Originally, Teaching Tolerance had planned to use the survey to prepare new resources for teachers after the June primaries. But, Costello said, “we realized this actually was an important piece of public information.” Her team made all 5,000 comments anonymous, and released the report publicly.

In Oakland, Schreiner hasn’t seen any episodes of racist bullying at her predominantly Latino school. But she has witnessed students in her class, like Jonathan Valencia, worry about Trump’s wall and being sent to Mexico. She’s worked to make her classroom a safe place to discuss their fears and a source of accurate information. A big, yellow, handwritten poster is taped up on the whiteboard, listing things the children know and want to know about the election.

“Why does Donald Trump want to build a wall?” one child has asked.

“Does the president vote?”

And: “Is Hillary Clinton ‘good’ and Donald Trump ‘bad?’”

“The reality is, they know,” Schreiner says. “Kids are so aware, and they’re so intuitive. And I’m not really sure what—in quotes—‘shielding’ really does for them.”

*

Sandra Payne teaches eighth-grade history at Urban Promise Academy in Fruitvale. A week before the election, the display board outside her classroom is adorned with information on all four presidential candidates. Inside, one wall carries a poster of the nation’s presidents up to George W. Bush. The 43 white men smile toothily. Payne’s class, like Schreiner’s, is majority Latino. She estimates 90 percent of her students are from immigrant families. At the start of the lesson, they begin by silently reading books from home; graphic novels, a copy of Junot Diaz’s Drown.

This is a class who argued with their teacher over whether or not they had to refer to Trump by name. “They were like, ‘Can’t we just call him something else?’” Payne recalls. She told them they needed to be respectful, but her class responded: “He’s not respectful to people. Why should we?”

Sara Heron, a counselor working with the Bay Area Children’s Association (BACA), says the students she sees between the ages of 12 and 18 have shown more election-based stress than other age group. “I think middle schoolers see what’s happening, but they’re bystanders. Everyone else is determining their future,” she said.

But they are also able to start developing a more nuanced and complex understanding of election issues than their younger siblings in elementary school. In Payne’s class, the children have begun to look at candidates’ policies in greater detail, and to consider the third party contenders, Jill Stein and Gary Johnson.

With silent reading time over, Payne’s class is taking part in a national poll, run by the online educational resource platform Newsela to encourage children under 18 to participate in the democratic process. Today they’ll be voting online for their favorite candidate.

On the middle table, a clutch of students are animated about Stein’s candidacy. (“I’ve been campaigning for her since we knew she existed,” one boy says—though adds, “What’s her party again?”) Payne says two girls in her class researched the Green Party candidate by themselves, unprompted, and arrived at her desk on Monday morning to tell her what they’d learned. “I don’t know if they’re really seeing and understanding the connection of the potential of having female candidates running this election. But they definitely do seem excited,” she says.

Her class also presents a more nuanced view of the race’s frontrunners than Schreiner’s 7-year-olds—they’ve been able to see the candidates in action after Payne assigned them to watch the first and last presidential debates. “I don’t like Donald Trump. I don’t like what he says, and I won’t like him as president,” says Clarissa Martin. “But there are some things that I don’t like that Hillary says, either.”

“When I was watching the debate, her and Trump—Donald was kind of, like, rude. But Hillary, she had more feelings,” Amrih Almalky says.

Her classmate, Dayrin Rivas, agrees. “I think Hillary should win because I feel like she represents me more,” she says.

The class ultimately swings in Clinton’s favor. After the online vote, Payne sets her students up for a lesson on identifying reliable historical sources; a critical analysis skill that also serves them well when researching the candidates. But there’s some restlessness about the “actual” polls.

“Are you scared Donald Trump’s going to win?” one girl asks Payne.

While they may understand more clearly the events unfolding across the country, these students also better recognize what will be at stake when many of their parents cast ballots next week. “If Trump wins, what is going to be the next step for us? And our culture?” asks Arianna Neal. “We don’t know what is going to happen, all we know is that he’s racist and he doesn’t like women. And what is he going to do now if he wins?”

At a table nearby, Leo Lopez puts it simply: “He sets fear.”

*

“I’ve probably said about eight times in the last two weeks: It’s over,” Jesse Shapiro says, gesturing at the students working in the computer lab at Oakland High School. Shapiro, a social studies teacher, is helping his Gov-Econ senior class prepare scripts for a mock presidential debate. With a week and a half to go before the election, Clinton, he says, has the vote wrapped up. “The reason that I want them to understand that it’s over, is because the discussion about who’s going to win is less important than how they’re going to win, and how they’re going to lose, in my mind,” he says.

The students in this class are displaying considerably less anxiety about the election than the younger children in Schreiner and Payne’s classrooms, at least on the surface. Shapiro thinks this is because of the polls he’s been showing the class, which indicate a strong lead for Clinton. An understanding of the electoral process, he says, can be comforting.

Shapiro’s 17- and 18-year-old students are tackling high-level analysis of election strategies. As they prepare their scripts, Shapiro reminds them of the three types of election ads: attack, turning out your base, and pulling in swing votes. He asks one student how Trump could drive a wedge between different voter groups: “Do African-Americans tend to be more liberal or conservative on this issue, crime? Think about our last unit.”

The class has made a strong impact on the students’ understanding of the democratic process, its complexities and its flaws. “I didn’t know there were specific groups that supported Hillary and Trump,” Zykkia Armstrong says. “I just thought it was one side of the country and the other side.”

Swing voters, the electoral map and voting blocs are also topics of conversation. Trevon Smith says this class has taught him how much he has yet to understand about the way his country elects its leaders. “I never knew it was electoral votes that you win off,” he says. “I’m thinking all you’ve got to do is have a lot of people and they vote, and then this person wins. But it ain’t like that.”

The classroom is racially diverse, but Shapiro’s students frequently show empathy with those voting for Trump. “Being in this class has made me see why some people support him,” Dariyona Larkin-Bird says. She cites fears over immigration and enthusiasm for relaxing business regulations as two reasons why someone might vote for the Republican. But, she says, even if she could vote for Trump this time round, “I’m not going to risk it.”

“It kind of makes sense, but when it comes to the racial part and when he talks about women, it’s just like…” She shrugs.

None of the students in this class are both old enough and eligible to vote next week. But many say they wouldn’t cast a ballot this time, even if they could. Having learned about the electoral college, and California’s status as a blue state, some think their vote wouldn’t matter. Plus, Armstrong adds, “We already know she’s won. There’s no point in the election, she already won.”

Shapiro says it can be hard to teach a group of students who aren’t able to vote yet. But, he says, “You want people to become football fans, you get them to watch the Super Bowl, and then encourage them to watch regular season games.” He’s optimistic that their time in his class will stay with them in two years, when midterms roll around.

But Shapiro’s also concerned with his students’ short attention span, and the impact social media has on the quality of their political discussions out of the classroom. “When you want to get election news, are you going out and seeking it, or are you just watching it because somebody posted it to Snapchat?” he asks. “The lowlights of the debates is what you’re getting if that’s how you watch them.”

Shapiro’s alarm about the quality of election news online is shared by many professionals. The proliferation of ‘fake news’ from sites which publish unsubstantiated or simply fictitious stories has grown, thanks to social media platforms such as Facebook that allow articles to be rapidly shared across the web. Children’s inability to recognize bias behind articles published online is also cause for concern; a recent Stanford University study of almost 8,000 students found 82 percent of middle school pupils couldn’t distinguish between an ad labeled “sponsored content” and a reported news story. Additionally, Facebook has come under scrutiny for using algorithms designed to show users content they agree with, keeping consumers’ feeds harmonious with their already-held political views and suppressing alternative points of view.

Rick Jaroslovsky, a media studies professor at UC Berkeley, stressed that both issues are harmful to the democratic process, with children more likely to be caught in the influence of fake or biased online news sources. “News-like content is so pervasive, it’s surrounding young people wherever they are,” he said.

Children are exposed to hyperbolic, overheated and—this election cycle—sometimes offensive comments at the tap of a cell phone screen. When it comes to critically considering where their information comes from, “they don’t know necessarily that this site is a credible site that has been around for a long time, whereas this site is a content mill in Macedonia,” Jaroslovsky said. After all, the students in Payne’s eighth-grade class are only just learning to analyze historical sources.

Given this media environment, Jaroslovsky said, teaching critical thinking skills “is the single biggest thing that schools and educational professionals can do to make sure that there is a well-enough-informed electorate to make intelligent decisions.”

As a teacher, Shapiro encourages his class to cut through the sound bites to get at the heart of the issues. For example, he says, when teaching his students about the presidential debates, “we’re not going to watch the part where he called her a ‘nasty woman’ over and over again.”

Instead, he hopes to teach his students how to “dissect, filter through some of the bullshit so they can see the real issues that get brought up.” His job as a social studies teacher in this election cycle, he says, is to get his students interested, give them a framework to critically assess more than just the news they’re fed by Facebook, and to help them articulate what they’re thinking. It’s a similar process every four years, but 2016 has brought one major difference: “I didn’t have to do very much to engage them,” he says. “They wanted to figure out who was going to win.”

BACA counselor Sara Heron agrees. Speaking a few days before the election, she said she had “never seen this level of discussion and stress around the particular candidates” before, among any of her clients. “Nobody talked to me about Obama!” she exclaimed.

But she added that children’s level of engagement can depend on their family’s socioeconomic status. The children she sees at her clinic in downtown Oakland tend to come from affluent families. “From the stable families, it’s a lot of outrage about Donald Trump’s comments about women, comments about different ethnic groups, comments about different gender orientation groups,” she said. But the children she works with at a low-income East Oakland high school, she said, “have trouble even making it to school. They’re dealing with so many stressful things. They get suspended a lot.”

Constantly dealing with issues that affect their day-to-day wellbeing, Heron thinks, affects students’ ability to engage with more abstract concerns like the election. They rarely bring it up with her, and when she asks for their thoughts, they are much more likely to tell her they don’t care about the outcome, or that it doesn’t matter.

“The things they see on TV, and the promises they see people are making in terms of policy changes, they never see it actualized. So yes, you’re going to raise taxes or lower taxes, but none of it’s going to go to our school, so what do I care? It’s not going to give me more teachers or a music program,” Heron said. Of course, she points out, it’s likely that these children will be more affected by the outcome of the election than those from the affluent families who talk to her passionately about the campaigns.

At Teaching Tolerance, Costello has been thinking ahead to the long-term effect this election may have on children. Across the U.S., she said, good progress has been made in reducing racial and religious intolerance in schools. However, the recent nationwide rise in openly prejudiced and racist rhetoric by students and adults alike will not have passed children by. “What social science tells us is that impressions made on children last. So any kind of discussion about others, with calling attention to difference, or having very strong negative impressions, tend to have fairly permanent effects,” she said, a few days before the vote. 

Additionally, she fears the nation’s children may have missed out on a vital learning experience. The offensive language used by the candidates—such as Clinton’s dismissal of Trump’s supporters as a “basket of deplorables” and Trump’s speeches in which he encouraged violence, mocked the disabled, labeled Mexicans “rapists” and disparaged women—has caused many parents to switch off their TVs rather than engage their children in the democratic process. The Clinton campaign itself ran an ad against her opponent that implored “our children are watching.”

Trump’s refusal to confirm whether he would accept the outcome of the election if Clinton won, and repeated claims of possible voter fraud in the run-up to the vote, have shocked many who fear the consequences of questioning the integrity of a presidential election. 

“I think most teachers would tell you that this particular campaign has been anything but a study in citizenship,” Costello said. “No one knows what the long-term effect is of raising a generation of students who basically lived through a campaign where a major party candidate has questioned the very institutions upon which our constitutional democracy rests.”

“I worry about that,” she said.

*

In the days after Trump’s victory on November 8, Jonathan Valencia started talking about the huge wall the new president was going to build. How he was going to be deporting people. “These are things we don’t—me and my husband don’t—talk about” in front of their children, his mother Beatriz Valencia said. Some of Jonathan’s classmates, Valencia said, stopped wanting to go to school in case no one came to pick them up. They were frightened that immigration officials would swoop in and take their parents away while they played during recess.

Jonathan was still unsure about the difference between undocumented immigrants and US citizens like himself and his family. For Jonathan, Trump’s promise to deport “probably two million” and possibly three million people once he takes office translated as: If you come from somewhere else, you’ll be sent back. He began asking about where he was born. Where his sister was born. What about his mom? “And that’s where I lied,” Valencia said. “I had to tell him that I was born here, even though I was born in Mexico.” Valencia become a U.S. citizen in 2005. When he began asking about his grandmother’s birthplace, Valencia told him everyone in their family was born in the U.S, so that he would be able to “feel safe, and go to school knowing that we’ll all be there when he gets out.”

In Payne’s classroom, the eighth-graders arrived at school with questions, too. What could Trump really do as president? What would happen to their families now? “At points it felt like I was talking to them like if someone had passed away,” Payne said.

One student received cheers when he held up his binder with “Fuck Trump” written across the cover. Payne pulled him aside after the lesson to reinforce her classroom rules: No matter what people might be shouting outside, this was no place for that kind of behavior.

During a class discussion, a student asked her whether Trump would send bulldozers or tanks to find illegal immigrants in Fruitvale. The other children agreed it was a good question. “It sounded like they thought that Trump could walk into anyone’s home and tear it down, and search for items or things, or people,” Payne said. She told them nothing like that was going to happen—but as for the question, “that one kind of took some air out of me,” she said.

One of her Latino students, Payne said, voiced the collective sentiment: “I know we’re the minority, but now I really feel like we are the minority.”

At Oakland High School, Shapiro said students were rowdier than usual the day after the vote. There were more kids in hallways rather than class, “trash getting thrown upstairs, little stuff like that,” he said. “There were some kids who were genuinely worried, there were some kids who were masking any sort of concern they had by being kind of boisterously angry.”

As in other Oakland classrooms, students’ biggest anxiety was the president-elect’s attitude towards deportation. For some, Shapiro said, “that’s secretly kind of scary to them.” Shapiro recognizes that Trump doesn’t feel beholden to Latino or African American voters for his election victory. “I don’t think he feels that he owes those people anything,” Shapiro said. “Including mercy.”

Of his own certainty about a Clinton win, Shapiro said he put his foot in his mouth. “The mistake that I’ll never make again is that I’ll never be so reliant on polls,” he said. “The big lesson I learned is that polls are used to kind of over-simplify things,” a lesson he’s eager to pass on to his students.

Ultimately, he told his class, it’s up to them to work towards shaping the political alignment of the House and Senate in 2018. “You guys will be walking around college campuses next year,” he told them. “You can choose to go to class and just go about your business and get your degree and get a good job, or you can try to become politically active.” If there’s a silver lining in the election result, he feels, it’s that his students might be more likely to put what he’s taught them into practice. “It’s a lesson that’s hard learned, but it’s a lesson that I don’t think you can learn any other way,” he said with a laugh. “You can’t be a passive bystander in democracy. You have to be involved.”

At her clinic in downtown Oakland, Heron said her teenage patients have arrived feeling angry. “They’re not entirely sure what to be angry about, but they know that they’re upset,” she said. Many were ready to get involved in the protests that erupted across the East Bay, including walk-outs at high schools.

Younger adults in their twenties, she said, have universally arrived in tears. She described them as “heartbroken, and very worried about what was going to happen.” Unlike her teenage patients, they didn’t seem optimistic that they could do anything to change the result. “But I do keep saying, as I would with any anxiety that patients have, that we can’t predict the future. And there’s not a whole lot of utility in worrying about things that we don’t know if they’re even going to happen,” she said.

At Teaching Tolerance, Costello and her team began to plan for what a future under Trump might mean for equality-minded educators. Less than a week after the vote, the project released another survey asking teachers what they had witnessed in schools since Trump’s election. It received five times the number of responses collected in the first survey. “It’s an enormous amount of data to go through,” Costello said. Asked why this report may have garnered such a large response, she said teachers feel a sense of urgency, in addition to “the shock, and the cumulative effect of this rolling, roiling mess of a campaign.”

Costello says the project has been “inundated” with requests for help, as well as messages of support. Previous blogs and online teaching guides suggesting ways to deal with the aftermath of national elections have each received as many as 200,000 views online. “All is not lost,” she said. “Schools are still places where there are teachers and students who are attuned to social justice and to fairness, and who want to support each other.”

And in Schreiner’s second-grade classroom, the students’ class agreement is still taped to the wall. The first rule is: “Use your empathy tool with everyone, always.”

“We encourage kids to be kind and not bully others, we encourage kids to be fair,” Schreiner said, a week after the election. “And then we have somebody in a position of—in the position of power who hasn’t always adhered to those values.”

Like her student Jonathan, Schreiner stayed up on election night. When the results began to show a clear lead for Trump, she texted her colleague. What are we going to do? “It wasn’t really until Trump’s acceptance speech where I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is the new world now,’” she said.

In the days since, teachers at her school have worked to answer children’s questions and soothe their worries. Many classes have taken part in creative activities which allow kids to express their feelings, such a painting or writing about what they’d like Trump to know. Her school is planning an inauguration day event: a walkout, perhaps, or some community-building activities.

“I do have some minor fear about the kind of educator that I am and want to be, and whether that would be allowable,” Schreiner said, thinking ahead to what her career might look like under President Trump. “My take is that I believe strongly that teaching is a political act. And I don’t believe that neutrality helps anybody other than oppressors and people that are in positions of power. And that’s not the position that many of my kids are in.”

The day after the election, Schreiner wasn’t scheduled to be in her classroom. She biked to Farley’s East in downtown Oakland, ordered a breakfast sandwich with a cappuccino, and then sat down to work on her anti-bias curriculum. It’s work she’s spent the last six years crafting. Schreiner says she doesn’t intend to stop.

Post a comment

Oakland North welcomes comments from our readers, but we ask users to keep all discussion civil and on-topic. Comments post automatically without review from our staff, but we reserve the right to delete material that is libelous, a personal attack, or spam. We request that commenters consistently use the same login name. Comments from the same user posted under multiple aliases may be deleted. Oakland North assumes no liability for comments posted to the site and no endorsement is implied; commenters are solely responsible for their own content. For concerns about comments posted to this site, please contact us at staff@oaklandnorth.net.

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *

Connect with Facebook

*
*