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Negative Political Campaign Blamed For Contributing To More Bullying In Schools

Dan Konik
Jillian Maruskin, Columbus Area Mom

This presidential race has been described by many voters as the nastiest campaign in modern day history. Some experts say negative political rhetoric is having on children during this election season.

Once upon a time…..back in 2008…..major presidential candidates took stands against bad behavior at their political rallies. Remember Republican John McCain’s response when one of his supporters at a town hall referred to Democrat Barack Obama as an Arab?

Supporter “I can’t trust Obama. I have read about him and he’s an Arab. He’s not”

McCain interrupts, “No Maam. No Maam. He’s a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues. And that’s what this campaign is all about.”

About the same time, when Obama spoke to supporters at the Ohio Statehouse, he shut down some in the crowd who began booing at the mention of Vice President Dick Cheney's name.


“You don’t need to boo, just vote.”

Fast forward to this campaign where the tone of the campaign is downright caustic. From the ads, to social media, to the rallies, and to the shirts some people wear to those rallies, there are hundreds, if not thousands of examples, of controversial, degrading and sometimes hateful speech. The President of the Ohio Education Association, Becky Higgins, says all of this negative political rhetoric is spilling over into classrooms.

“Educators across America have witnessed a concerning uptick in bullying.”

No one has to tell that to Jillian Maruskin of suburban Columbus. Her nine year old daughter was the victim of bullying by a ten year old boy her age in after school child care.

“He and a smaller child were attempting to and touching my daughter and another girl who is in the after school program as well. He was grabbing at their very private parts over their clothes.”

Maruskin learned about this from her daughter and the school took action. But that didn’t put an end to it.

“He told her in line at lunch that he knows where she lives and he is going to rape her mother.”

Maruskin isn’t blaming the school. But she does blame the current culture that allows public figures to behave inappropriately and then makes excuses for that behavior.

“There’s issues with this kind of behavior from young boys in school, our young aggressors, and I’m pretty sure it’s exacerbated by what they are seeing on t.v.”

Some educators have been calling this "the Trump effect", though it should be noted that most teachers' unions support Hillary Clinton.

The Southern Poverty Law Center surveyed 2,000 educators earlier this year and found reported bullying is a serious concern for students of color, Muslims and the children of immigrants. Many of those responding to this unscientific survey reported increases in racial slurs and inflammatory statements targeting students in those groups.

Contact Jo Ingles at