Students and Teachers Shocked By Election Results

By Jin Heo, Business Manager

//As the results of the election came in Tuesday night, half of the country rejoiced and the other half watched their nightmare come true.

   The majority of the Acalanes population identified with the latter, staying true to California’s tendency to go blue in elections, as it did in this one.

   Prior to the election, polls showed Secretary Hillary Clinton as the heavy favorite to win the presidency. Nate Silver’s prediction on FiveThirtyEight showed Clinton having a 71.4 percent chance of winning. The New York Times gave Clinton an 85 percent chance of winning. Thus, the results of the election came as a surprise to many.

   “I didn’t expect this at all,” junior Kyle Jarvis said. “But really, who did we expect?”

   For some, the results have yet to sink in.

   “It still hasn’t really hit me because it’s just been a joke and nobody really thought he was going to be serious this entire time, but now it’s actually our reality,” sophomore Clara Finch said.

   Many of the teachers were also surprised by the results. Chemistry teacher Tom McNamara described feeling shocked.

   Over the course of this contentious election, president-elect Donald Trump has, on multiple occasions, used inflammatory rhetoric and held divisive stances on many issues.

   In regards to the LGBTQ community, Trump has held that he will attempt to reverse some of the progress made during the Obama Administration. Obviously, such remarks have caused people within the LGBTQ community to feel attacked.

   “I’m definitely a little bit shaken up about [the election],” senior Wesley Rosemont said. “I’m just having a really hard time because Donald Trump is a man who has strongly divided our nation. He and his vice president are against the LGBTQ community, which really strongly affects me being a gay person. I’m really really really scared for what could happen.”


Cartoon by Eldon Brown

   Senior Lay Templeton had similar things to say.

   “I’m really upset. I am a woman, I am Mexican, and I am a lesbian,” Templeton said. “I feel unsafe and I feel scared.”

   Those of racial and ethnic minorities also feel the same way. Trump has targeted Muslims, at one point even proposing a ban on Muslim entry into the country, although this stance has since been removed from his campaign. Additional comments have been made towards illegal immigrants whom Trump plans on deporting to their “home countries”. 

   “I’m really afraid for the minorities of America,” sophomore Roya Abkenari said. “I think that when Trump is president, there’s going to be a lot more racial prejudice.”

   Junior Isa Correa shared this concern for minorities.

   “I’m afraid of people making comments or doing stuff to me because I’m different and not white,” Correa said. “It just feels like the world is against me.”

   Acalanes is not without opposing viewpoints, however. Some individuals expressed their support of Donald Trump, but at the same time did not want their names used for fear of repraisal.

   “I am very happy that Trump won, I think we’re going to finally be seeing a change,” one student said. “A lot of people took a gamble on Trump to see this change and I can’t wait to see if he’ll succeed and to see what happens.”

   Others expressed disapproval of both candidates but prefered Trump over Clinton.

   “I didn’t like Trump or Clinton, but I’d rather have Trump,” another student who wished that their name be withheld said.

   A third source who requested that their name be witheld shared the same viewpoint but added that they were very concerned due to Trump’s racist and sexist comments.

   “I’m extremely happy Hillary Clinton did not win and I’m going to pray that Donald Trump does not do an awful job,” junior Christian Lyons said.

   Students had the opportunity to share their voices in a lunch meeting on November 10. The meeting, held in English teacher Natalie Moore’s classroom, aimed to provide a safe space for students to discuss their reactions to the election and political climate.

   “I think that the meeting came out of a response to a recognized need that students were having varied emotional reactions to the political climate and needed to engage effectively and be heard about their experience,” Principal Travis Bell said. “I want to encourage students to get involved and be activists and find ways to engage with the community that moves us forward.”

   Bell plans on listening to the needs of the students and planning additional meetings accordingly.

   When asked about methods of protest and activism, specifically, organized school walkouts, Bell offered a word of warning.

   “To me, I don’t necessarily think that I see value in organized school walkouts,” Bell said. “Specifically in California, I don’t think it goes anywhere and if anything, you’re missing out on education for the day.”

   That being said, Bell offered support to students.

   “We as a school really want to support students finding their voices and being able to stand up and speak for what they believe in a manner and way that is appropriate and respectful,” Bell said.

   According to Bell, teachers often find a roadblock in expressing their political opinions.

   “I think the hard part for the teachers, if I can speak for them, is that we have to set aside our own emotional responses and political beliefs and really focus on creating, fostering, cultivating, and growing a climate that is safe for all students,” Bell said.

   Students seem to be in consensus with Bell.

   “We don’t always have to agree with people’s opinions, but we do have to respect them,” sophomore Malika Haji said.

   Looking to the future, many of those who supported Clinton are unsure of what will come of America during Trump’s presidency.

   Some, however, are holding onto optimism.

   McNamara still had a degree of concern for the nation as a whole, but found hope in California.

   “I have solace because I live in California: If worse comes to worst we’ll probably pass some propositions to counteract any damage that’s been happening,” McNamara said.

   Others held a more positive view for the whole nation.

   “I believe, as a whole, we’ll come out on top,” sophomore Alex Kelly said.

   To those downtrodden by the results of the election, junior Fiona Warburton offered a word of advice.

   “My advice for people would to be wary, but to keep an open mind,” Warburton said. “Be cautious, and try to be optimistic so you do not make yourself miserable. But be aware and wake up.”

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