It’s about to get real. Have you been listening to the Impeachment trial question phase? As this phase comes to a close, the questions are getting more senators sponsoring them. The responses from both House Managers and Counsel for the President are getting, shall we say, more personal? The room is heating up instead of slowing down.
Since these proceedings are historical, I brought my computer today for my 11-12 year- olds in civics class and my high school Constitution class of 15-year-old boys. You would think a group of junior high kids would yawn. They gathered around the MacBook as if I were showing a video game. The high school boys yawned during today’s Constitution class, but not when they watched the protocol in the Senate and heard arguments for both sides.
I think we sometimes assume kids don’t care or understand because maybe we don’t care or understand. One young child said they were listening to the proceedings at their grandma’s house. Not one of my high school boys jumped up when their rides came to pick them up. They were kind of “getting into the trial,” if you know what I mean.
I explained to my classes that while they may not know exactly what is going on, the following is true:
-An impeachment trial is a historical event.
-These people are making decisions for you and me and how we will live in this country in the future.
-Learning your rights is essential because, ultimately, We the People run the government.
-A certain amount of decorum is required in these Senate proceedings. You can’t yell out or cuss out a person with whom you disagree. This seemed to make an impression on them.
-There are two sides to every story. We ought to listen to both sides.
I did not interject my opinion. They are there to learn. Students can see with their own eyes and hear with their own ears. Young people have a measure of discernment all their own.
I did not say, “watch the news.” I introduced the students to senate.gov to get coverage with no commentary.
We are on to the next phase of the trial, which will decide whether or not additional witnesses will be called.
Taking even a small interest in these proceedings and introducing them to the young people in your life with only objective comment is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship.??