California Bay Area Schools Ease Minority & Immigrant Students’ Fears Through ‘Restorative Circles’ After Donald Trump's Win

By Olivia Reese, Parent Herald November 16, 04:00 am

Minority and immigrant children in the United States are terrified over the repercussions of a Donald Trump presidency. But schools in Bay Area, California are making efforts to ease these children's fears.

Alyssa Hoy of San Pablo's Bay View Elementary teaches a lot of minority and immigrant students, East Bay Times reported. Hoy is doing the restorative circle to help ease these children's fears over immigration, hate speech and the other negative effects of the U.S. presidential election.

About 24 of Hoy's students are in the restorative circle. The pupils pass a yellow ball along and when a student is holding the item, he/she can express whatever he/she fears or worries about the future - whether it's happiness, sadness, despair or hopelessness.

Hoy saw numerous students crying, anxious, angry, and stressed out as the reality of a Trump presidency continue to settle since last week. Other educators and counselors also held restorative circles in school.

Meanwhile, other Bay Area districts encouraged "principals to allow students to meet at lunch or after school to formally protest," East Bay Times further reported. In Los Angeles, hundreds of students walked out of their classrooms last Monday and protested President-elect Trump. They are calling for the local government's protection and support of "targeted communities," according to Chicago Tribune.

David Yusem, a mental health therapist and the leader of the Oakland school district's restorative justice unit, said many students in the U.S. are experiencing teasing language and outright bullying behavior. Yusem said that they're on "heightened alert" about the issue and they are doing a lot of restorative circles to help stop the problem.

Nicole Knight, the executive director of English Language Learner and Multilingual Achievement of Oakland Unified School District, said that educators should acknowledge "the ambiguity of what will come next" for the minority and immigrant populations. Oakland Unified is also planning to teach minority and immigrant students their rights if they are challenged by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE.

Other teachers are reminding students that President-elect Trump isn't the only one capable of making decisions in the country. They are stressing that the U.S. Constitution has "a system of checks and balances" that allow other people in power to decide.

Hoy is hoping that minority and immigrant students won't see themselves and each other as what Trump and his supporters see them. She wants her students to take action, be kind and see themselves as valued and important people.

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