Resource page: Selected comments from the Southern Poverty Law Center survey “The Trump Effect”

This page presents the best evidence from a Southern Poverty Law Center survey report alleging (in part) an increase in bullying and harassment, targeting immigrants and Muslims. We assert fair use as our justification for presenting this material from that report, as it supplements an original work critical of the SPLC report and media claims stemming from that report. Find the entire list of survey responses here.

We have roughly arranged the comments from best to worst in terms of how they strengthen the argument that bullying and harassment are increasing and/or the Trump campaign caused the increase. We applied bold emphasis to the first 23 comments, as we judge those examples most strongly assert or imply an increase in bullying. The rest we judge offer a weaker level of evidence.

Note that each of these responses was in answer to the second open-ended question. The second question was the only one to ask about bullying or harassment.

If you have witnessed bullying or biased language at your school—from adults or students—that mimics the rhetoric of the campaign, please tell us about it.


Comments we chose not to include tend to give an even lower level of evidence.

The students still associate Muslim with Terrorist, and that has increased yearly. This year, however, there is more bullying than ever, because we model it so well in the political debates, especially towards the LGBTQ communities and other non- Christian religions.

There has been an increase in bullying by way of accusing each other that they are Trump supporters to isolate them from the social groups.

We are having more of an issue with bullying of transgendered students specifically. This indirectly ties in because it is becoming “acceptable” to say discriminatory things and be heroized for it.

Many students are posting very slanted comments on social media and the political bullying has increased. It is to the point where students are unfriending each other because of their political affiliations.

I have seen an increase in demeaning speech in regards to students who speak with an accent.

Kids are using hateful language and directing at Latinos and Muslims. They think it is ok since Trump is modeling it.

I have dealt with a few students who have made disparaging comments about “hating Mexicans.” I don’t think they would have said it last year, but they are feeling bolder about such comments.

I’m hearing more homophobic language and general bullying behavior than prior to the election season.

Students who are Muslim or Syrian find “go home” and “we don’t want you here” notes in their lockers, etc.

The more terrorist bombings, the more kids begin to express bigotry towards Muslims. They begin to agree with Trump.

We have a large immigrant population (Middle-Eastern, largely) relative to other schools in the district. Over the last year or two, there has been an increase in us-vs.-them mentality, often in the form of verbal abuse directed at anyone with a “Muslim-sounding” surname, girls wearing hijabs, and anyone speaking a language other than English. This sentiment, despite serious efforts at No Place for Hate and social justice initiatives, has increased this school year. One of my students was told “You’re the reason 9/11 happened” and another was asked if she’s a terrorist, for example.

Students are repeating racial slurs from parents more frequently and openly since the election season has started.

Yes! It is distressing to see my Muslim and Hispanic students worried and taunted by white students after every Republican rally on television and sound clip that makes its way onto social media. I intervene every single time, but I am not on television with national name recognition.

Yes, there has been a huge increase in anti-Muslim speech and bullying of Muslim students. This is of great concern to me and other educators.

The bullying and fighting (which has increased) is a real disrespect for how students interact.

Students are showing more signs of bullying now and use the excuse that if those running for office can do this so can we. They are using words from both democrats and republicans as their evidence of bad behavior. They ask why should we have to if the political leaders of our country are not.

I have observed both students and adults being bullies–there is a lot of talk about walls. Student essays have expressed the idea of gathering up immigrants (all!) and shooting them. Parents have requested I lock my doors at all times (I’m in a portable in a gorgeous field in proximity to the playground and PE classes) because of the “unsavory” people on campus (which is our contracted and licensed maintenance and facility district crew–mostly black and Latino). Parents have complained to my principal, referring to me as a lesbian and citing that I do not say the Pledge (not true) because I am a communist (oh, I’m a Bernie fan, which makes me a social democrat, I supposed–however, I was undecided at that time). Uncivil and biased messages have been left on my voicemail, as well, regarding the resharing of a Zinn Education Project regarding Columbus Day. This also reappeared in attacks against me personally. This is decidedly different from previous years, maybe in part because I usually teach the “low” classes; however, this year it appears with the growing vitriolic rhetoric on the daily newsfeed (including FB) makes it open season to be a bully.

Bullying is a little worse than in the past.

Students have become very hostile to opposing points of view, regardless of the topic. Any division seemingly now elicits anger and personal attacks.

I am a middle school principal. We have had numerous situations of bias-based bullying during this school year. Students have openly taunted Latino and Muslim students, saying, “When Trump is President, you’re going to get deported.” There have also been cases of students just going up to other students and saying, “Trump Trump. Trump” in a taunting tone.

Sadly, biased language is often interpreted as bullying. I have been doing this over 20 years, and never have I seen such intolerance for differing opinions.

Trump has students wanting to fight and talk about each other. They are down grading each other by making certain statements.

Just in general, more likely to engage in it.

We have had some incidents and in our Middle School it isn’t uncommon to hear bullying and biased language. We continually run anti-bullying programs and counseling to combat this problem with some good results.

I am an education professor at a large university. I have Muslim students who have been bullied and harassed since October. One student came to me right after a male adult student pushed her off her bike on her way to class and told her to go back home. She said, “Some man named Trump is going to get me killed.”

Bullying and misconceptions about certain groups of people is prevalent.

My six year old students are imitating what they hear and have been using the word loser. Also, some children have expressed fear about what might happen if Donald Trump becomes president.

Yes, posters for the Black Student Union, and the SPECTRUM clubs have been vandalized with racist writing.

See above, especially comments about Muslims. We deal with this directly and quickly and do not tolerate intolerance.

White students are calling black students n-/:;r more often. One white student even said it was perfectly ok for him to use the word because his ancestors invented it.

Anti-Muslim graffiti in textbooks.

Students are not allowed to gossip or bully in my classes. However, I have heard from some students that others have bullied them – a Mexican student was told he “will be on the wrong side of the wall”, a Muslim student was called a ‘terrorist’ and immigrant students related that they were targets of unkind remarks.

In short, yes.

Anti gay slurs are common in my school, but they are not tied to candidates I can see these days. Before Trump began to dominate, some GOP candidates had a bit of credibility with the boys and anti gay remarks were thrown around more.

ISIS comments/taunts directed at Muslim adults in our building. Muslim students feel uncomfortable and fearful because of current events and the tone of the campaign.

We have a group of students who are calling teachers and students names like “stupid liberal” and “stupid feminist”. Any time we try to correct the unkindness and talk about ideas in a civil fashion, these students start crying about their First Amendment rights at school. It is becoming increasing distracting and divisive. Kids who identify with the left are afraid to speak their minds, due to being mocked repeatedly. I try to teach that political opinions are great. They need to have research to back them up. But kindness comes first.

Taunts against Muslims, as terrorists, headwear and clothing

Mexican students are the targets of biased talk.

Some increased anti Muslim, anti LGBT sentiments

Against Muslim students.

There were students that mimicked that attitude that some people don’t belong here. We had to have a discussion about the history of immigration and regards to those that are Indigenous to this land and the immigrants that came to this land. Who gets a right to say who stays and who goes? From the perspective of the Indigenous people of South America, they would be helping a lot of Europeans pack their bags to return to their country. My students watched 500 Nations and we talked about territory like that of California and Texas that originally belonged to the people that some candidates are attempting to send home.

There have been instances of students saying to other students things like, “Trump will be president and send you all back”. There have been incidents of hate speech, anti- Semitic remarks (not targeting anyone specific).

At the all white school where I teach “dirty Mexican” has become a common insult. Before election season it was never heard.

Many white students are being immediately called “racist” by students of color for making any comment about race or expressing favor towards Trump. Other students claim that they look forward to “building a wall.” The school is becoming divided in a way between Trump and non-Trump supporters.

Hate speech from white students toward Muslim students

Lots of hate talk and people arguing.

The anti-Muslim sentiment is very strong among the students.

A lot of anti-Muslim sentiments

Yes! I am not bringing up the election in class after hearing the aftermath of the fights in our small high school. Name calling, disrespect, fighting…

The students, not all, but a few have been saying hateful things about Muslims and Mexicans. It’s not aimed at anyone in particular, but is happening.

More degrading comments towards woman and girls, then the offenders pretending they were joking. By adults and kids.


The worst has been on social media. I have stopped engaging on Facebook because I get blasted for expressing my opinion if it is different from the fanatics. And Mr. Trump and Mr. Cruz have allowed this to happen, along with the media.

A lot of my white male students have been much more open about criticizing female students’ appearances and weights (like Trump).

This is an epidemic and has nothing to do with the campaign.

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