PPS: Zero-tolerance for discrimination, hate speech

Teachers, students work on learning to respect cultures

Students walked out of multiple high schools in Portland on Monday to protest Donald Trump's election. November 14, 2016, (KOIN)
Students walked out of multiple high schools in Portland on Monday to protest Donald Trump's election. November 14, 2016, (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After the election of Donald Trump, people in Portland and around the country began protesting. Most of the protests have been anti-Trump, and a number of reports of hate speech have been filed in the week since.

Now local schools are struggling to keep kids safe in the battle between free speech and hate speech.

PPS Interim Superintendent Bob McKean, November 16, 2016 (KOIN)
PPS Interim Superintendent Bob McKean, November 16, 2016 (KOIN)

Interim PPS Superintendent Bob McKean sent an email to parents Tuesday night noting a rise in hate speech, but assured parents schools remain a safe place for their kids.

There is zero-tolerance for discrimination, bullying or harassment, McKean said in the letter. Unkind behavior toward anyone in schools will be dealt with swiftly and appropriately.

Around 400 PPS students — out of 47,000 — were part of an anti-Trump rally on Monday. So far, McKean said, there have been no widespread demonstrations of hate inside the schools.

Almost half the student population in Portland schools are students of color.

“There’s going to be some outliers who say what they’re not supposed to say, but if the expectation is respect for each other a lot of it can be blunted and I think it is,” he told KOIN 6 News.

A big reason for that, he said, is teachers work with students on learning to respect many cultures.