Wednesday | May 10, 2017

Our students learn and thrive when their classrooms and schools are intellectually engaging and supportive places. To this end, American educators work every day to create and sustain welcoming, safe and nurturing educational environments for the young people entrusted in our care.

But education is not immune from larger social and political forces. The bigotry that emerged during the 2016 election has intruded into schools and playgrounds across the United States, with devastating effect. Our most vulnerable students—immigrants, Muslims and other religious minorities, LGBTQ students, and students of color—need their classrooms and schools to be safe and secure, especially as the rest of the world may appear increasingly menacing to them and their loved ones. They need an empowering education that gives them the skills to confront the challenges in their lives and persevere. At the same time, the difficulties that educators face in providing safe and secure schools and an empowering education may be greater than at any time in recent memory.

From a variety of different perspectives and work with different populations of vulnerable students, our panel examined the challenges facing American educators and the best practices educators have developed to address them.


Eliza Byard, Executive Director, Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLESN)

Yolanda Rondon, Staff Attorney, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

Giancarlo Tello, Peruvian Master's Student, Rowan University

Moderator: Louis Malfaro, president, AFT Texas