On Tuesday, Nov. 8 Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election. The result came as a shock to many people since many polls, including The Los Angeles Times and Business Insider, predicted that Hillary Clinton would win by a landslide. The following day, teachers at Marlborough took time to discuss the election and comfort students who felt scared or upset about the results. Many students said that they could sense that the majority of the Marlborough community felt distraught and were seeking consolation from both peers and teachers. For example, Alexis ’19 said that she had an emotional reaction to the results.
“At school I saw many people grieving and I started to break out crying myself,” she said.
However, some students felt that the liberal culture at Marlborough caused them to feel insecure about sharing their reaction to the election results.
“I felt when I came to school wearing a sweatshirt that supported Donald Trump I felt like I was…ostracized from the community and I feel people personally attacked me and began basing their decision about my character off of my political stance,” Julia ’19 said.
In response to rifts she saw forming due to the election, Caroline ’19, who also felt unsafe expressing her opinions, said she wishes that people would be less inclined to make judgements and more willing to engage in discussions to really understand other people’s opinions.
“I think that you should never make so many judgments about somebody because of a candidate that they support; you don’t know what specific policies they do and don’t support… I don’t even like either the Republican or Democratic Party…[yet] at this school, I’m made out to be some sort of extremist,” she said.
However, Alexis said she believes that Marlborough gave people a safe space to express their grief. The election results were particularly difficult for her to hear because she has experienced food insecurity and is worried about what Donald Trump’s presidency could mean for people struggling with lack of food availability.
“I understand how hard it is to get welfare if you need it and I don’t want Donald Trump to make it any harder for anyone…A lot of people don’t have what I have now and it’s painful knowing that people like you don’t have the same chances you have,” she said.
Therefore, she said she thought that the teachers’ approach to comforting students was justified and rightfully encouraged.
“I thought that it was perfectly fine [for Marlborough teachers to console students] because that’s what your teachers are supposed to do; to support you and understand how you’re feeling as a student,” Alexis said.
Clara ’18 is also a Clinton supporter and a former member of the Clinton campaign. While she said she was also upset by Donald Trump’s victory, she said she believes that it is our civic duty now to talk to people with different opinions to look at issues from a new perspective, and to have a balance between respecting other people’s opinions while still defending your own.
“I think [engaging in discussions entails] expressing your [opinions] with respect and also curiosity for others,” Clara said. “It’s also having a mindset that you are never going to be 100 percent correct, no matter who you are, and knowing that even though you might not think the same way as the other person, they might be completely valid and have a legitimate point as to why they believe in something.”