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Students debate clinton impeachment

December 18, 1998

Students debate impeachmentBy LAURA ERNDE / Staff Writer

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer




If it were up to Dan Croyle's 11th-grade American history class, President Clinton would keep his job.

After a spirited debate Thursday, the Washington County Technical High School students voted 10 to 7 against impeachment, falling short of the two-thirds majority required by the U.S. Senate.

The class took a break from studying Theodore Roosevelt and the Spanish-American War to talk about history in the making.

"Why don't we just let him serve the rest of his term? Our country would be split down the middle if we impeached him," said student Doug Decker.

Students worried about the effect on the country if Vice President Al Gore takes over.

"He wouldn't be our best guy. He'd be the guy we picked in a pinch," said Dan Stoner. "People would begin to lose faith in America."

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Stephanie Stotler said the mistakes Clinton has made haven't hurt the country.

"I think we should look at the good things he's done," she said.

But other students, including, Craig Henderson said there's no excuse for lying.

Inevitably, the discussion turned to sex.

"What is the big deal with Monica? Why do they want to investigate whether or not he slept with her?" asked Sean Gogan.

His question touched off a mini-debate over what constitutes sexual relations and whether Clinton lied.

Although she said she believed Clinton lied, Krystal James was willing to give him a break.

"Everyone makes mistakes," she said.

Some seemed to understand why Clinton lied.

"When you get caught, everybody's first reaction is to think of something to get out of it," Stoner said.

"Except students who don't do their homework," teacher Croyle said.

The class also talked about the bombing of Iraq, an event that delayed the House of Representatives impeachment vote originally set for Thursday.

James said she learned about the bombing from her best friend, who called her in a panic Wednesday night.

"She said, 'I'm scared, I'm scared. We're all going to die,'" James said.

Croyle explained that the attack poses little danger to Americans and that the bombings are aimed at preventing a future attack on the United States or other countries by Saddam Hussein, who some believe has been stockpiling weapons of mass destruction.

Stoner said he stands behind the military action, although he has compassion for Iraqis who stand behind Saddam.

"This is going to sound crazy, but I kind of admire the actual people willing to die. You would never get Americans to do that in 200 million years," Stoner said.

Croyle disagreed, saying Americans have shown patriotism, especially during times when the nation was threatened.

Every day in school, Washington County students have the opportunity to talk about current events, said Ed Koogle, supervisor of social studies for the school system.

Social studies classes use The Herald-Mail newspaper as well as a special program taped from CNN every day that comes with questions and discussion topics, he said.

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