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Local schools see increase in anti-Latino comments post-election

Posted at 7:19 PM, Nov 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-10 20:19:55-05

A civil rights groups said it's getting more calls than usual about racist comments aimed at Hispanic students from their peers across Wisconsin and the country. One of the incidents happened at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee.

One student, Jair Santiago, said he heard comments like "I'll visit you in Mexico."

The principal of MUHS said he was hurt and angry to hear his students had aimed such comments at their peers, but Santiago said he's heard those comments his whole life and has grown a thick skin for it. Still, he's upset to find his classmates making the hurtful statements.

"That's morally not right and I just think that's outrageous," Santiago said.

Santiago is first-generation American, whose parents are from Mexico. He said he has Trump-supporter friends who respect him and his differences, but he feels comments about Latino students have ramped up since Tuesday.

"I can say it too because he holds the highest power in the country," Santiago said.

"Immediately following the election, some students came forward to say that they heard offensive, inappropriate comments," Principal Jeff Monday said.

Monday gathered each class of students at MUHS Thursday.

"Any student who hears a comment that places him in a position of thinking that they don't belong here, is inappropriate, that's not acceptable, that's not who we are," he said.
 
According to the League of United Latin American Citizens, he's one of many school principals dealing with similar situation.
 
"In the last 36 hours, our calls have just gone through the roof," said Darryl Morin, the former LULAC National Vice President.
 
Morin said he's heard from families experiencing negative comments and even violence.
 
Santiago said he'll stand up against it more.
 
"Now that more and more people are vocalizing, I think that I'm trying to speak out and tell them that it's wrong, you know, try to do something to change their view," he said.
 
LULAC also met with Milwaukee Public Schools Thursday. The sent the following statement:
 
"LULAC met with MPS this afternoon and shared their concerns, but did not identify specific schools where these situations have apparently occurred. We take any form of student harassment seriously and it will not be tolerated. MPS will continue to work with LULAC and will continue to take appropriate measures to ensure all students are treated with respect."