What Do You Teach Kids About the Most Hateful Election in History?

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Photo: David Schaffer/Getty Images

The first election to include a female presidential candidate of a major party should, in theory, lend itself to classroom conversation. But the Washington Post reports that teachers are finding talking about it to be quite a challenge.

The campaign has been intense for months, but now the focus has shifted to sexual-assault allegations. More than a dozen women have come forward to accuse Donald Trump of a range of assaults, and Trump has responded by bringing up allegations previously made about Hillary Clinton’s husband.

One high-school teacher told the Post, “This is the first time I’ve really said to myself, ‘I can’t cover this election like I want to because it’s not school-appropriate.’” A teacher in Kentucky apologized to his students after asking them to watch the debates as homework: “Should I subject them to sitting through that nonsense?” he said. “Heck, parents may not want their teenager watching these candidates.”

Another noted that she was concerned that her niece and nephew, who are 12 and 15, were watching the debates. That’s right: The debates are so adult-themed that we question whether our children should watch them.

But all the rhetoric isn’t lost on kids — especially teenagers who have access to a wide range of news sources. Messages are being received whether we like it or not, and it’s worth noting that, especially in the case of teenagers, this election can be a teachable moment, even if it’s not school appropriate. Here in the last month, while stress levels are increasingly high, having open, honest conversations with our kids is more important than ever.