Students Stay Current on Clinton Crisis
Posted December 10, 1998
WILSON COUNTY — While many adults are sick of hearing about presidential impeachment, teenagers are very interested in the issue.
"The constitution gave the Congress the power to decide if someone needs to be removed from office," teacher Angie Hare explains.
Of 17 students WRAL spoke to at Wilson Hunt High School, 15 say they would vote to remove Clinton from office.
"He's not above the public," one teen says.
Others disagree. "We should still forgive him," a female teenager says. But she's in the minority.
Most agree with another girl, who says "he should be impeached because he lied under oath."
They're also disturbed by his behavior more generally. "If he knew he was going to have relations with her," one student says, "he should have just said 'Well, I can't do that. I'm involved, I'm married.'"
The debate in Angie Hare's current events class is not merely theoretical; the young people care very much about the outcome.
"My first question every day is, you know, 'What's going on? What's new in the world?'" Hare says.
Right now, the president's future is the hot topic. "We've talked about it every day and tried to keep up with it," Hare says. "With the Monica thing, you know, I try very hard to take the high road and not to get into the details."
The class realizes there's more going on than meets the eye.
"People don't know what they're talking about," one teen says, "because they haven't seen the whole thing through. They haven't been sitting there and watched every bit of it."
They're also learning how the political process takes on a life of its own. "They've already gone this far with it and they can't just stop now, they don't have any choice," a young woman points out.
Some wonder how history will treat Clinton. "He's going to be remembered for being the president who had an affair and lied under oath," one young man says.
Hare wraps up the class, but the debate, of course, is far from over.