Politics

Kids: Trump is a Bully

Kids, teachers and parents struggle with how to learn from presidential campaigns

Future voters are not impressed with the level of discourse in the 2016 presidential campaign. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Jillian Alder Pierson covers her ears when she hears the presidential candidates calling each other names.  

Scarlet Havard runs into another room when the debates are on the television.  

And Gabe Schon says the candidates are bullies.  

“They talk like little kids, because they fight a lot and call each other names,” he said.  

Gabe would know. He, Jillian, and Scarlet are all in kindergarten.  

The presidential primaries, with their name-calling, locker room language and general lack of civility have been bewildering for many people, including these three.  

If past presidential elections served as real-time lessons about civics and government and illustrations of nobility to which children might aspire, this year's has looked more like a cafeteria food fight or recess brawl.  

How do educators, after all, turn these into teachable moments:  When Bernie Sanders hushed Hillary Clinton with his curt, “Excuse me, I’m talking.” When Marco Rubio insinuated that Donald Trump had wet his pants. And when Donald Trump said almost everything Donald Trump has said, including self-referential comments about his genitals.