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Lesson on impeachment: How local students are learning about government

Doherty impeachment class
Posted at 6:52 AM, Jan 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-29 09:18:34-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — It's safe to say teens often get a bad rap for not being interested in current events, but News5 met a group of students who are proving that idea wrong.

Forget boring lectures and taking notes. In Robert Duensing's AP Government class, the students are using a copy of the constitution and footage of the impeachment trial as a guide.

"I've been more engaged because I can understand what's happening instead of just watching it and not understanding the process at all," said Alissa Beehler, a junior at Doherty High School.

Right now the class is looking at opening statements from both the prosecution and defense. The teens watch the trial without any slant or bias and all the footage is raw.

"The students will follow on their own, the facts of the case as they go," Duensing said.

They are also using the constitution and other documents from the founding fathers, to get a sense of how the Framers wanted our government to work. Sounds like a lot, but students like Alissa have no problem keeping up.

"I don't really find myself getting bored in politics, I actually find it very interesting," she said.

Keep in mind, these students are underage and can't vote — yet. The class also has rules and guidelines in case discussions get heated. This is politics after all.

"We don't attack each other. If we attack anything we attack ideas and we come at it with factual basis," Duensing said.

When the time comes, the real argument will make or break their grade. At the end of the semester, the students will write a reaction paper after watching the entire impeachment trial.

In the paper, they must argue whether or not they think the president should be impeached.

"They will be looking at the impeachment trial from a different view. Regardless of what I think, they draw their own conclusions and that's the way it should be," Duensing said.