How one Tri-State social studies class is grappling with 2021′s political whirlwind

Princeton HS teacher discusses Inauguration Day, current events with students

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - With a tumultuous start to 2021, a Princeton High School teacher says navigating conversations with students requires the right conditions and a foundation of respect.

Jim O’Connor is a social studies teacher at Princeton.

“It’s so symbolic when one president leaves office and a new president takes over,” O’Connor said of Wednesday’s events.

In the past, O’Connor would have had his students watch the inauguration from the moment the ceremony starts until the moment the president-elect and vice president-elect take their oaths of office and the president gives his address.

Because of the pandemic, that wasn’t possible Wednesday. The students went home early due to the school’s shortened hours. That’s why O’Connor made a point to discuss the historic events surrounding the day before they ventured home.

“So we discuss the 20th Amendment,” O’Connor explained, “and then where the oath of office is found and what the oath of office says.”

O’Connor also says he discussed with his students the violence that took place at the Capitol on Jan. 6 which led to the increased security presence during the inauguration Wednesday.

President Trump’s historic second impeachment was also a topic of discussion.

The goal, O’Connor says, is to give the students space to process current events.

“Let the students vent their frustrations and their opinions, but again, back to that civil discussion where you keep respect towards each other.”

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