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Spike In Minority Students Reporting Harassment After Trump Win

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Over the last few days, thousands of people have come out onto the streets of major American cities to protest Donald Trump's election. Meanwhile, reports of threats and intimidation directed at minorities and women are on the rise. That behavior is playing out in schools. Here's NPR's Kirk Siegler.

KIRK SIEGLER, BYLINE: Alexandra Duran is in the 10th grade at a Health and Sciences high school in Beaverton, Ore., just outside Portland. She and her fellow students had had some pretty heated debates these past few months over the election. And on Wednesday, she says, she was trying to avoid one boy in particular who was an outspoken Trump supporter. They ended up running into each other in the lunchroom anyway.

ALEXANDRA DURAN: I got up because I was going to leave because I didn't want to just sit there. And then he said, oh, it's ok. You'll be gone anyway. And then I just kept walking, and he just kind of started to laugh. And that was it.

SIEGLER: To be clear to the listeners, you're an American citizen.

ALEXANDRA: Yes.

SIEGLER: Duran is Mexican-American. Her mom, Angelina, says her family has experienced subtle racism before, especially living in an overwhelmingly white city. But she's worried the election is making things worse.

ANGELINA DURAN: I have a real fear for my daughter because my oldest has - she's my darkest. And I'm scared because just by looking at her, I'm scared somebody's going to accost her in the street or while she's walking and I'm not with her. Like, I have a real fear that my daughter's no longer safe.

SIEGLER: This is not an isolated incident. It's true that some anti-immigrant and other bullying stories are spreading unchecked on social media. But there are a growing number of confirmed investigations into alleged harassment and hate crimes - racist graffiti, including pro-Aryan Nation statements in bathrooms at a high school in Minnesota. An Arabic college student wearing a hijab was allegedly robbed and attacked at San Diego State University.

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UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Campus police say that two suspects made comments about President-elect Trump and the Muslim community as the victim was walking to her car at this parking structure.

SIEGLER: Universities and schools say they're taking steps to address the problem, including holding assemblies and making more counselors available. Here in Los Angeles, one principal felt compelled to send out this robocall last Wednesday.

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TOM IANNUCCI: Parents, please remind your children to be mindful in their conversations.

SIEGLER: Paul Revere Middle School Principal Tom Iannucci says one of his students, a young girl, was teased that she'd be deported.

IANNUCCI: And in another instance, one of our other young gentlemen on campus was made to feel that his parents, you know, were bigots or racists because of the side that they chose to support.

SIEGLER: In Oregon, the Durans reported the incident to their school principal, who told them in an email that he'd be following up and the school is aware of problems like these. Fifteen-year-old Alexandra says she feels fortunate her incident wasn't as bad as many other reports, but she's struggling to process it all.

ALEXANDRA: Me being a high schooler, how come I know how to act but other men and women who have graduated and lived longer than I have and probably have kids don't know how to act?

SIEGLER: Duran says she's sad and angry, and she worries the country took a big step back.

Kirk Siegler, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.