Education

Students cast ballots in mock elections as Clinton-Trump head to finish

Students cast ballots in mock elections as Clinton-Trump head to finish

While Clinton and Trump supporters make news for not being polite, students at Fort Worth’s All Saints’ Episcopal School learn to put aside differences to learn about the political process.
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While Clinton and Trump supporters make news for not being polite, students at Fort Worth’s All Saints’ Episcopal School learn to put aside differences to learn about the political process.

The presidential race is described as a heated process that is bringing out the worst in partisan bickering.

Some worry the negativity has ended up in school playgrounds and cafeterias. In some communities, the divisiveness impacted school mock elections. One school in New York canceled a mock election, according to a report on ABC News.

“Teachers have said they’ve heard some kids in the cafeteria chanting ‘Trump! Trump! Trump!’ or saying they don’t want Muslims here,” said Glen Rogers, principal of Jericho Elementary School in Centereach, N.Y.

“I mean, kids often repeat what they hear on the TV or the news, but it doesn’t mean it’s OK,” Rogers told ABC News. “We have a diverse community here. We want all our students to feel valued.”

In North Texas, students as young as three are showing up to mock election polls. Students at Paschal High School, O.D. Wyatt High School and Daggett Middle School cast votes already. Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump at all three campuses.

Students at All Saints’ Episcopal School in Fort Worth participated in election coverage, exit polling and voting. Next week, seniors will gather to watch the results of the Clinton-Trump race.

“In a presidential race built on personal attacks and polarizing views, this mock election has inspired our students to tune out the noise, perform their own research and critically think through the issues that face our country,” said Keira Moody, spokesperson for All Saints.

All Saints voters were ages three and up, reflecting the student populations of the schools on that campus. Students cast votes online, while the votes of younger students were tallied by teachers. Final results tipped in favor of Trump who took 66 percent of the 865 votes cast. Clinton won 22 percent of the vote. Candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein each garnered six percent of the All Saints vote.

Brendan O’Toole, a senior at All Saints, said it is important to vote because participation in the political process is the key to change. He said the mock election was a rewarding learning experience.

“It was challenging to think through how to talk with students of all ages and get them interested in voting,” O’Toole said.

With the participation of pre-kindergarten students, one question students pondered was “should the voting age be lowered from 18?”

“No, I believe 18 is the right age; any younger and we risk the voters not being mature enough to understand issues that our country faces. I also believe if you are old enough to go to war, you should get a say in who sends you there,” O’Toole said.

Diane A. Smith: 817-390-7675, @dianeasmith1

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