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Fulton sixth grader: Classmates shouted 'build a Donald Trump wall' at Latino opponents in soccer game

Isaac Lambert is a rising Fulton County seventh grader. His dad told the AJC Isaac loves to read and write, and is concerned about the state of the world, especially in politics and the environment.

And Isaac is worried kids are picking up some bad habits from the adults in the world. He has some advice for us as you will see in this piece he wrote.

By Isaac Lambert

It’s an election year. You may be wondering how the elections impact our schools. Unfortunately, they have the potential to do a lot.

I’m in sixth grade — middle school. A number of weeks ago we took our standardized tests. One of the days, after finishing the test, our teachers allowed us to play in the big field for an hour. I joined the soccer game. We picked team captains and divided the players evenly. There was one team with all Caucasians (or, as they are usually called, “whites”) and one team with Latinos (or, as they identify themselves and are usually called, “Mexicans”), along with a few extra white players. One of the team captains was Mexican, and one was white, so that explains that. I was on the Mexican team.

The whole game was pretty aggressive, a lot of kicking shins and cursing, but there wasn’t really a problem until halfway through the game when my team, the Mexicans, got a penalty shot. One of our players was about to take it when, all of a sudden, a player from the other team shouted, “let’s build a Donald Trump wall!” and they all formed a human wall in front of the goal.

The player on my team who was taking the penalty shot called the offender a racist. Then another kid from the other team shouted, “get the h*** out of our country!!” while another started a chorus of kids chanting, “Whites! Whites! Whites!” You can imagine the shouting that followed. As for the soccer game, I don’t know what happened to it; I left.

Twenty minutes later, we were back in our classrooms where my teammates started to discuss the incident. I came over and asked them what, if anything, they planned to do. They didn’t really have any plans, so I, as a student who identifies himself as Jewish and occasionally has had to deal with prejudice as well, made a suggestion. We wrote down the names of all the kids who were saying racist things and what they said. The next day I handed the paper to the principal and told him what happened. He took it and promised to deal with it. The following day they pulled all of the kids who had said racist things from class and gave them ISS (in school suspension) or OSS (out of school suspension). That was that.

I have been going to public school since third grade. I’ve never seen or even heard of a racial problem involving whites and Mexicans before this incident. Some people say that certain politicians just express the prejudice against immigrants that people already have.

But I think they’re helping to create the prejudice.

The kids who said the racist comments in school should have known better, but they hear all this talk of “walls” and such from their parents. Their parents speak this way because they hear it from leaders of our country. We need to realize that how we speak often has an unforeseen impact on our country. What we say trickles down to the playground. Exert some caution, people, please!


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About the Author

Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.