Education leaders blast Trump, violence in Washington

NEA union president blames Donald Trump for 'seditious attacks ... bred from years of vitriol, hate and bigotry'
By: | January 7, 2021
(GettyImages/Tim Graham)

Leaders from across the education system reacted with horror Thursday to the attack by followers of outgoing President Donald Trump on the U.S. Capitol building.

Educator leaders Thursday were grappling with the question of how to move forward after the violence while also continuing to grapple with the COVID pandemic, said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association.

“The herculean efforts being done by school district administrators, building leaders, teachers and parents to educate our young learners regarding what’s right and what’s wrong was indirectly challenged following the senseless act of vandalism at the Capitol building,” Domenech said.

Still, superintendents and their teams will continue the work of redesigning and redefining public education, he said.

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“High in their priority will be ensuring the safety of students and staff as schools are reopened and students return to in-person instruction,” Domenech said. “We look forward to working with Secretary of Education nominee Cardona to realize President-elect Biden’s goal to have that happen during his first 100 days.”

NEA union President Becky Pringle was more direct in blaming Trump for inciting the mob that stormed Congress on Wednesday.

“Make no mistake about it: What we are witnessing today is an attack on our country and on our democratic institutions,” Pringle said. “To be clear, these seditious attacks on our Capitol are bred from years of vitriol, hate and bigotry and were fueled by a president and the many elected Republican accomplices who blatantly lied about the election while attempting to overturn the will of the people in a desperate attempt to hold onto power.

Pringle called for educators to come together to show students that their teachers and administrators will stand up to politicians who incite violence.

“We will stand up to those who empower the anarchists that have violently stormed the Capitol, trying to overturn the will of the people,” Pringle said. “We will protect our democracy. The world is watching. Our students are watching.”

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Jeanne Allen, CEO and founder of The Center for Education Reform, called the riot at Capitol an “assault on democracy.”

Allen blasted Trump for attempting to “topple checks and balances” and seed distrust for America’s most important institutions. She urged Congress to remove Trump from office.

Allen also apologized for sharing a photo on Twitter that she had claimed showed members of Antifa involved in Wednesday’s violence. The photo was fake.

“Those who sought to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power weren’t protestors,” Allen said. “They were thugs, incited by the sitting president, Donald Trump. He has failed in every respect to govern this nation in its most trying times.”