I'm not writing this to start a flame war, but to give insight that what the President says does have a ripple effect across our community even if it doesn't necessarily pertain to you or where you live. We started school last week and so far it's been an interesting first few days for me. We did introductions last week with some ice breaker activities of "getting to know you" and getting class schedule conflicts worked out, so today was the first real day of instruction. I work at a medium size high school in a rural town in the central valley teaching 10th grade world history. The school population is 92% Hispanic, 5% Caucasian, 2% African American, 1% Asian/other. The 92% Hispanic population of our students have roughly 60% come from migrant families that work in the fields which is a significant number of our student body. It's safe to say that most of these students either crossed the border when they were infants/toddlers or were born here but their parents came here illegally.
Today I started a lecture about "Absolutism" and the monarchy of King Louis XIV of France. I mentioned that through his consolidation of powers he was able to obtain complete autocratic rule and his only threats were the nobles and bourgeois, but through autocracy it can become a slippery slope into despotism and dictatorships. I then asked the class to name a current dictator and almost unanimously they all said "Trump!". I froze for a second and I asked, "why do you think that? The United States is a constitutional republic, not a monarchy or dictatorship. Trump is not our king, he does not rule by divine right or aristocracy" (although lately it seems you need to be rich in order to become President). A girl finally raised her hand and she said, "he might not be dictator, but he runs the country through fear like a dictator and we are scared of losing our families". I could see all of my students had the same thought in their heads and I felt like I had to calm them down somehow. I told them this is the purpose of our three branches of government, so that Trump or any other President can't consolidate power and rule by themselves. The President is bound to the Constitution whether he likes it or not and that's the beauty of it even though it's not perfect.
Everyone sees immigration as "people need to come in the right way, if not they need to be deported", to be honest that used to be my stance until I got into education and I realized it is not that simple. I look at these kids in my class and it's sad because it's not their fault that they are caught in the middle of all this. The United States is all they know and it's what they call home. I know some of them go to sleep at night wondering if someone is going to knock on their door and take their mom, dad, or somebody else in their family. My biggest fear from all of this is to walk into my classroom one day and see an empty desk or a kid who is distraught knowing his/her family got separated. Quite a few of you guys on here are familiar with me and know I'm not very open about my political stance even though I enjoy talking politics and I intend to keep it that way. I never have and never will tell my students which way I lean politically even if they ask me. I tell them it's my job to give them the materials and resources to research information and form their own opinion. This post is just my thoughts on what I witnessed today and how real this topic is in my community. It sounds cliche coming from teachers, but it's true, these students are my kids and I love all 184 of them even though they make me want to pull my hair out at times.