This year’s election has stirred a backlash, bearing countless instances of verbal abuse that demand our complete attention. Donald J. Trump, the insulting heavyweight of this election, has used fear and bigotry as his bread and butter.

Political bickering has and continues to inflict collateral damage onto a younger generation. Hateful and offensive tendencies instilled by a presidential nominee in young students across the country aren’t going to disappear when these students reach college.

The supposed insignificance of bullying on college campuses is a very common misconception. Social media’s growing prominence has only worsened bullying on campuses because every victimizer now has another medium of violence at their convenience.

Of college students, 22 percent reported being cyberbullied, while 15 percent reported traditional bullying, according to a study from the University of Indiana in College USA Today. In 2015, the Center for Disease Control found that students who experience bullying are at an increased risk for poor school adjustment, sleep difficulties, anxiety and depression. While bullying is an issue that’s extremely difficult to solve, it’s one that college campuses and schools everywhere are much too familiar with.

An organization which focuses on reducing prejudice and improving intergroup relations, Teaching Tolerance, conducted a survey interviewing nearly 2,000 kindergarten to twelfth grade teachers between March and April of 2016. The report, titled “Trump Effect,” covered the impact of this year’s campaign on students and educators’ teachings.

Findings suggest that this campaign is having a profoundly negative effect on children and classrooms claiming it is “producing an alarming level of fear and anxiety among children of color and inflaming racial and ethnic tensions in the classroom.”

“Students are hearing more hate language than I have ever heard at our school before,” a surveyed teacher from Montana said.

Hillary Clinton has referenced this report in the past and responded with, “Next time you see Trump rant on television, think about all the children listening across America.”

Trump is potentially our next leader of the “free world.” As leader of the free world, he would set the tone for what kind of behavior is acceptable.

College and grade school students will follow suit, as President of the United States is an admirable position.

“Trump’s harsh rhetoric tears away the veneer of civility and betrays our national motto of ‘e pluribus unum,’” New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof said.

As Trump’s adverse rhetoric continues to saturate our news, we may have to watch as our country diminishes into a disembodied nation of brutes.

Email Steve Levy at steven.levy@cardinalpointsonline.com

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