Election leaves community in shock

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The plasma screens outside of Director of Student Life James Perry’s office aren’t generally a gathering point for students, especially at 7:45 a.m., but things were slightly different on Wednesday, November 9.

Forty students had their eyes glued to the TVs as Donald Trump finished his acceptance speech after being elected President of the United States.

In the same place a day earlier, the Advanced Placement U.S. Government class held a poll of high school students where 83 percent voted for Hillary Clinton, with 17 percent supporting Trump. Of the 53 faculty members that voted, all voted for Clinton.

Perry believes Trump’s antics throughout his campaign disenfranchised him with voters, particularly those in the community. “I think adults have a hard time swallowing that our next president will be someone who has behaved the way Donald Trump has behaved lately,” he said.

Perry also noticed a similar perplexity amongst the student body following the vote. “I doubt that it hits the students quite as hard as it hits some of the adults, but there were definitely some students I saw and spoke with who were deeply affected by it one way or the other,” Perry said.

At Bottom Orange, Jonah Larson (’17) noticed a somber atmosphere, instead of the typically lively mood. “I think a lot of people aren’t happy to be American right now, which I think is sad,” he said. “A lot of people are distancing themselves. They see their own views and they say ‘oh, I guess I’m not with the majority of the people anymore,’ and there’s a lot of alienation.”

Overwhelming support for Clinton was evident on Larson and many other students’ social media accounts. That, coupled with a liberal consensus in the community, didn’t allow for Larson to express his beliefs leading up to the election and even after the confirmation of Trump’s presidency. “If you just get shot down every time for wanting to discuss simple politics, it’s quite unfair,” he said.

Nichole Vivanco-Stapleton (’19) could only describe her reaction to the announcement that Trump won the majority of the electoral college votes as one of “shock.” “I feel like the school has taken it really harshly. Even the teachers seem quite upset, everyone is not taking the news well,” she said.

Despite the community favoring Clinton, Vivanco-Stapleton doesn’t believe Trump supporters were isolated because of their political views. “I don’t think Trump supporters have been targeted. I think they have made a point to let it be known they are his supporters and they’ve won, but I don’t think there’s been much conflict,” she said.

Well aware of the divisiveness amongst Americans, High School Principal Jack Phillips called for unity and understanding in an email the morning of November 9. “Now more than ever, it is important for us all, regardless if your preferred candidate won or lost, to act with kindness, responsibility, integrity, and respect,” he said.

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Written by Lead News Editor Sourna Daneshvar, Jr. and Sports Editor Jonathan Sheves