Urban School of San Francisco students look inward and outward in an attempt to process Trump’s victory

The 2016 election cycle has come to a close, with Donald Trump elected as 45th president of the United States

Ian Shapiro, Editor-in-Chief of Newspaper

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On the morning of Wednesday November 9th, 2016, every American woke up with a new president-elect: Donald J. Trump. While a few Urban students walked into B period pleased with the result, most looked despondent, as the thought of a new Trump presidency dominated the mood around campus. There were tears and signs of fear from some students, and celebration and pride from others.

Donald Trump’s sweeping electoral victory over Hillary Clinton came as a surprise to pundits, pollsters, teachers and students alike. Nate Silver’s polling group Fivethirtyeight had Donald Trump’s odds of winning the presidential election at a mere 28.6 percent the day before the election. In their last analysis of the race, Fivethirtyeight also projected  Clinton to pick up several swing states that Trump ultimately won, such as Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

Although some states have yet to be called, Donald Trump came into Wednesday morning with 279 of the required 270 electoral votes. Despite her second crushing defeat in a major election, the first one a contentious primary against then Senator Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton was boosted by a strong Hispanic turnout in western states, and managed to win the votes of the majority of Americans by 1.2 percent.

By the end of lunch on Wednesday, and after a somber morning of classes, 159 Urban students from all grades left campus. The Urban School of San Francisco did not endorse the walkout, but allowed parents to dismiss their kids to attend the protest. At the protest, chants of “stronger together”, “not my president” and more obscene catchphrases were started by Urban students, and were caught on camera by The Urban Legend, and various local and national news sites like Buzzfeed and NBC. Additionally, Head of school Mark Salkind sent the following statement to ABC’s Bay Area affiliate:

At 12:45 p.m. today, 159 of our 417 Urban students organized a walk-out and march down Market Street to the Ferry Plaza to express how disturbed they were by the outcome of the presidential election. The school sent 7 faculty members along with the students to help ensure their safety. While the school did not organize this walk-out, we believe in giving our students the opportunity to express their point of view publicly — and to act on their beliefs. At Urban, we teach students civic engagement and political action — and today’s walk-out and march is an example of that.

In an all-school email, Assistant Head for Student Life Charlotte Worsley clearly stated that the school would not assist in organizing the walkout. She said, “Our policy at Urban is that we don’t organize protests or walkouts as a school, but we do allow students to make individual choices with parental permission.”

History teacher Dan Matz, who teaches a course dedicated to this year’s election, was one of the seven teachers who accompanied students to the Ferry Building Wednesday afternoon.

“It can feel empowering and buoying to be marching with like minded people,” said Matz.

Although Urban teachers typically keep their political views to themselves, this post-election day was much different. Many teachers were seen crying on campus, and could not help but address Trump’s victory. It is no secret that the vast majority of Urban faculty and students supported Clinton, but the crushing feeling of defeat could be felt all around campus.

 “I fully support the walkout,” said Math teacher Laura Hawkins. She continued, “a walkout at this point in the term is tough with trimesters,  but I made sure to send all of them videos and board notes to keep them up to date … In the past I have never told students who I voted for, but this election was different; I started the class by naming that this would be a hard day for many students and teachers alike, and then began to cry,” elaborated Hawkins.

However support of and participation in the protest was not unanimous. 38 percent of students chose to walk out, the rest electing to go to their C period classes.

“I did not walkout because I’m an independent,” said Anna (’20), who preferred to not disclose her last name. She continued, “Walking out would compromise my education, a pillar of democratic principle.”

Despite the school administration not organizing the walkout, five forums were held during E2 and lunch on Wednesday. The first forum was titled “What happened” and focused on understanding the election day process itself. There were two “processing spaces”, one for Trump supporters and one for Clinton supporters. There was also a forum for “the people who were ready to listen to a wide range of perspectives.” Late during B period, Dean of Equity and Inclusion Clarke Weatherspoon sent an all school email notifying teachers and students that there would be a forum hosted by upperclassman dean Dawn Jefferson for LGBT students. Additionally, there was a forum held for students of color.

“There is significant fear that a man who has been accused of sexual assault by a dozen women and a man who is seen by many students as xenophobic, islamophobic, racist and misogynistic is now our president-elect”, said Matz, who hosted the space for Hillary Clinton supporters.  

At this moment we are a nation divided, and will likely be for many years to come, but that will not change the fact that Donald J. Trump will soon be at the helm as as the 45th President of the United States.

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