Teaching Profession

Kindergarten Teachers React to Donald Trump Jr.'s Comments on Harassment

By Madeline Will — October 14, 2016 2 min read
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Donald Trump Jr. suggested that women who “can’t handle” sexual harassment should become kindergarten teachers in a 2013 radio interview. And, predictably, teachers are not happy.

BuzzFeed uncovered the radio clip with Donald Trump’s son today, in the midst of swirling accusations that the GOP nominee has sexually harassed or assaulted numerous women.

During a discussion on the Opie and Anthony radio show about sexual harassment in the workforce, Trump Jr. said: “If you can’t handle some of the basic stuff that’s become a problem in the workforce today, then you don’t belong in the workforce. Like, you should go maybe teach kindergarten. I think it’s a respectable position. You can’t be negotiating billion-dollar deals if you can’t handle, like, you know. But listen—there’s a place where you have to draw the line. But today the stuff you get in trouble for...”

The quote immediately set off a firestorm among kindergarten teachers. The quote, critics said, was a triple insult: It suggested that teaching kindergarten isn’t a real job, that kindergarten teachers don’t get sexually harassed, and that women should be able to tough out sexual harassment in the office.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, also weighed in on Twitter, saying: “He equates not working to teaching kindergarten. Talk to any kindergarten teacher—it’s hard work.”

(Don’t we know it. My colleague Christina Samuels reported just last year that the expectations of kindergarten are increasing, with a larger focus on academics and curriculum.)

During his speech at the Republican National Convention in July, Trump Jr. criticized schools as being out of the “Soviet era” because they served school employees instead of students. He also praised school choice as a way to improve educational outcomes.

For more of a teacher’s perspective on the sexual misconduct scandal surrounding Donald Trump, see Christina Torres’ recent Education Week Teacher blog post: On Being a Female Teacher in ‘Trump’s’ America.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.