As a special education paraprofessional and basketball coach in the State College Area School District, I try every day to make our school, hallways, locker rooms and classrooms a nurturing environment — a place where every student is welcome, regardless of disability, race, income or background.
I hope to impress upon my students the importance of being a tolerant and respectful citizen. I want them to be the kind of people who can disagree agreeably. I want my students to learn to respect everyone.
Each day I demonstrate character by showing respect for those who are different and standing up for what I believe in. Educators are role models, and we take this job seriously.
However, when political candidates don’t act as responsible role models, as we’ve seen with Donald Trump, it can affect our children’s behavior in the classroom.
My students overhear many conversations about the election. Their biggest question is, “Why would a candidate say bad things about women or make fun of a person with disabilities?” His words teach our children to disrespect others.
As a high school basketball coach, working with teenage boys is already tough. If “locker room banter” becomes a norm, we will be spending more time coaching youthful offenders. There has never been that kind of talk in my locker rooms.
We must elect a candidate who is respectful of others — Hillary Clinton.
Rudy Burruss, State College