‘Mrs. G, He Said the P-Word!’
In classrooms across the country, an unprecedentedly nasty—and lewd—election has prompted discussions that go far beyond plain old civics
Presidential campaigns have always been a civics teacher’s most reliable lesson plan—an every-four-years, plucked-from-the-headlines romp through the ultimate example of American democracy. Oh, the opportunities for learning! The nuanced interplay of geography and policy, the rise of the two-party system and even the peculiarities of the Electoral College. Then came Candidate Trump.
Suddenly kids were being exposed to debates that sounded more lunchroom than Lincoln-Douglas. (Mrs. Smith, why are they arguing about their hand size?) The televised rallies resembled pay-per-view MMA matches. And the policy proposals! Bans on Muslims, mass deportations and torture without restraint. If teachers and school administrators harbored any doubt that relying on the 2016 presidential campaign as a curriculum enhancement was fraught with danger, it was removed with the release on Friday of the videotape of Donald Trump boasting that his star-power licensed him to kiss and grope women with impunity.