Monday, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom sent a letter to the state's 58 county superintendents of education regarding post-election bullying and harassment.
The state of California doesn't have any cohesive means of reporting incidents of harassment and bullying. In response to this, Newsom's letter asked that various counties create a "clearinghouse," or reporting hotline, and a "zero-tolerance" policy for bad behavior:
"My wife and I struggled with how to explain the hateful rhetoric spewed during the campaign to our four young children. Like so many parents across the nation, we reinforced the values of empathy, compassion and kindness. Now, more than ever, it is incumbent upon us to translate those values into concrete action to protect California’s children. We must establish a zero-tolerance policy for hate in our schools...
With the recent surge of hate crimes, racial targeting and bullying in our schools, it’s imperative that we address and combat this uptick plaguing the very classrooms that should be safe havens."
According to the Monterey Herald, "The Southern Poverty Law Center [SPLC] has now collected more than 800 allegations of election-related intimidation and harassment nationwide between Nov. 9-16, with nearly 40 percent of all incidents occurring at K-12 schools, universities and colleges..."
As Daily Wire noted in a prior article, in times like this, it's paramount to separate the strands of such a compact narrative so that each can be examined on its own.
Taking the SPLC report at face value, one can easily jump to several conclusions. Every alleged incident of harassment, racism, and bullying post-election are coming from one side; every alleged incident is true; and every alleged incident has a direct connection to the election. None of these can be assumed--though many who want to promote the narrative that the majority of Trump voters are hateful bigots will gladly make such an assumption.
It's important to mention that Donald Trump has disavowed the alleged hate crimes that have been committed by his supporters.
Racism is abhorrent, as are harassment and bullying. Cases in which individuals or groups emboldened by Donald Trump's rhetoric harass or harm another person must be treated seriously. However, the pendulum must not swing the other way, wherein every accusation is believed at face value. Several prominent post-election stories of violence linked to Trump have been shown to be demonstrably false. Additionally, it could be argued that much of the graffiti that's being seen isn't coming from serious racists or bigots, but rather young people who simply want to upset the apple cart. That doesn't mean it's an acceptable thing to do, but it puts it in a necessary perspective.
Newsom's letter doesn't appear to mention bullying committed against Trump supporters, which has also been seen following the election. Such accusations should be taken just as seriously as those coming from the other side.
It must be noted that while SPLC is a very left-leaning organization, they are tracking anti-Trump incidents as well:
"Incidents by type ranked by number of reports include: Anti-immigrant (206), anti-Black (151), anti-LGBT (80), swastika vandalism (60), anti-Muslim (51), and anti-woman (36). We are keeping track of anti-Trump incidents as well, which rose from our last report from 20 to 27."
Another thing to keep in mind is that many of the reported incidents are "anecdotal," and the number has dropped steeply:
"[SPLC] made efforts to verify each report, but many included in the count remain anecdotal...While the total number of incidents has risen, the trend line points to a steady drop-off. Around 65 percent of the incidents collected occurred in the first three days following the election. "
Newsom's idea isn't a bad one, per se. Incidents of racism, harassment, and bullying need to be given due consideration, and condemned in no uncertain terms, but accusations must also be examined carefully so as not to engender unnecessary hysteria.