When we reported on the impact of the Trump election on school climate in the fall of 2016, we hoped that its effect would fade with the start of a new school year. But the 2017–18 school year began in the shadow of Charlottesville, and we continued to see news reports of hate in schools. We set up an array of Google news alerts and began tracking and reporting on the incidents. In the first month, October 2017, we counted 90 incidents and published our first regular monthly report with the aim of informing educators and administrators.
Since we were counting only those incidents that had been publicly reported, we suspected that we were seeing only the tip of the iceberg. In December 2018, we polled educators to test our hypothesis. We shared the survey in our newsletter and through several organizations, including the National Education Association.
We asked educators to describe incidents involving hate symbols or the targeting of others on the basis of politics, religion, race, ethnicity, gender or sexual identity. We asked them to report only incidents that had occurred so far in the 2018–19 school year. Respondents were not randomly selected, so we don’t claim they are a representative sample of the national teaching force. However, a comparison to National Center for Education Statistics data reveals that our sample is geographically representative.
In all, we received 3,042 responses. After we removed respondents teaching outside of a K–12 setting, the number of valid responses totaled 2,776.
The questions answered by survey respondents are available for review in the appendix.
A complete listing of the survey comments is available here.