NOTE: The following is the full text of a letter written by Stand for Children Indiana Executive Director Justin Ohlemiller delivered to the office of Indiana Governor and Vice President-elect Mike Pence on Tuesday, November 15. The letter is in response to an increase in bullying incidents against students of color at U.S. schools since the election of Pence and President-elect Donald Trump.
Stand for Children's national office has created a petition calling for President-elect Trump to condemn all bigotry and intimidation against children. To sign the petition, please visit www.standuptoit.org.
November 15, 2016
Governor Mike Pence
Office of the Governor
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2797
Dear Vice President-elect Pence:
Congratulations on last Tuesday's electoral victory. As we move forward from a hard-fought election, my organization and the parents and community members we represent certainly wish you the best as you begin your time as our nation's Vice President.
It is in this new role that we request your immediate assistance in ensuring all Hoosier children—and every U.S. student—feel safe at school. As has been widely reported, a surge of incidents of racial and gender-based bullying and bigotry have occurred in schools across our nation in the wake of the election. These horrifying acts include a troubling instance in your hometown of Columbus, Indiana where a parent, Felipe Martinez, said his sons faced chants of "build that wall" at school.
Stand for Children Indiana is requesting that, in the strongest terms, you publicly condemn these incidents of hate and call on all Hoosier students to treat each other with respect and decency. We are also asking you to call on President-elect Trump to repudiate, also in the strongest possible terms, hateful speech or actions against any child.
While there are differences between political parties, certainly we can all agree that racism, hatred, or bigotry of any kind has no place in our schools, and that school should be a place where every student, regardless of their background, feels safe and respected. As I am sure you would agree, our first and foremost duty as adults is to protect our children from harm. We are asking you, as a deeply committed father and as a national leader, to do all that you can to ensure that every citizen of our state and nation rally around this closely-held value.
Thank you for using your voice and your leadership to help stop this surge of hatred and ensure our schools remain a safe haven for students across our state and nation.
Stand for Children Indiana