The Washington Post fact checkers and staff have determined that Donald Trump in three years in office as President of the United States made 16, 241 false or misleading statements. That is more than 14 lies per day.
But wait: Telling more than 14 lies per day is not acceptable behavior for any of our K-12 students in this country.
In elementary school, we teach children how to be good members of their class. We tell them not to lie, steal, or be unkind to one another. If a child told 14 lies each day, a PPT (Planning and Placement Team composed of the student’s parents and educators) would be called and and an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) drawn up and given to the classroom teacher as well as the child’s art, music, and physical education teachers. The IEP would center on immediate and ongoing interventions from a school social worker and school system psychologist in order to change the child’s habit of telling lies and to address the child’s psychological need to do so.
In middle school, we teach young adolescents how to navigate their growing independence and become contributing members of peer groups that are increasingly important to them. If a middle schooler told 14 lies each day, individual psychotherapy would be recommended and increased school social services put in place. All of the students’ teachers would be notified of the student’s problem through an updated IEP (Individual Education Plan), and they would meet regularly with an intervention team.
In high school, we bring adolescents to the beginning of adulthood and encourage their involvement in opportunities for leadership. A student with a habit of telling 14 lies per day would be excluded from those opportunities. Membership in the National Honor Society requires proof of the student having four attributes: character, scholarship, leadership, and service. A student who told 14 lies per day would surely not qualify as having character. Also, being a captain of an athletic team, an officer of the student council, or the captain of a debate team would necessitate having a habit of honesty. In addition, a student who told more than 14 lies per day would be hard put to get teacher and guidance counselor recommendations for his college applications. The student’s high school experience would be without distinction and his future prospects quite dim.
Yet we have a President of the United States of America who has told more than 14 lies per day to the people of the United States. We have a President who, at the going rate, will publicly tell 3,794 more lies before leaving office on January 20, 2021.
How can we, as parents and educators, speak to our children about honesty and decency when a person who lies is our President?
We must not re-elect Donald Trump.
Our children deserve a President to whom they can look up to as a model of good behavior, as a leader worth emulating, as a person who simply tells the truth.