SIKESTON -- Several families spent most of Sunday talking about the capture of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, but the discussion continued for many children in the classroom Monday.
"I told my students first thing: 'If you don't know about this, you should be embarrassed,'" noted social studies teacher Mike Marsh, adding that the news was even mentioned on the school's daily announcements.
Fortunately for Marsh's class, they'd all heard the news.
Marsh, who teaches at Scott County Central High School, said he was able to incorporate the capture of Saddam into both his government and world history classes.
"With government, we talked about the capture of Saddam and the search and seizure, such as did they have to have a warrant or not," Marsh explained.
Other government questions students asked were "Will Saddam have an attorney assigned to him? and Will he be tried by the Iraqis or by American civil law or criminal law?
General questions raised by students included: How did he end up in a hole?, Is the guy who turned him in gonna get the $25 million reward? and of course someone commented, "He looks bad," referring to Saddam's "fall from grace," so to speak, said Marsh.
In world history, Marsh's students just finished studying Babylon, which is Baghdad, and how Babylon has never known a democracy since it's always been ruled by kings, emperors or dictators, Marsh explained.
"We talked about the effects and how now they've quit having the dictatorship and how they don't know the first thing about democracy because they've never had one," Marsh said. But at Kelly Middle School, social studies teacher Jeanne Cowger noted her students were a little quiet on Monday. However, the capture of Saddam did spark a conversation between students in one of Cowger's eighth grade classes.
"We were discussing a dictatorship in general and how almost all of dictatorships and some of the early colonial governments were under very strict rulers like Charles I," Cowger recalled. "We talked about how most of them wouldn't fight to save their colony or they let someone else come in and help them and how it's been going on for years. We compared it to what's going on now."
Cowger pointed out she thought most of her students talked about the capture of the Iraqi leader so much with their parents over the weekend, they didn't have to ask her about it.
"They haven't really asked many questions," Cowger said. Due to the fact that Southeast Missouri State University is conducting final exams this week, Rebecca Summary, chairperson of Southeast's Department of Economics and Finance at Southeast, admitted professors and students probably weren't taking classroom time to discuss the effects of Saddam's capture.
Whether students are talking about it or not, the capture of Saddam can be worked into a lot of subjects by teachers, Marsh assured. It can be looked at from an economic perspective of how it may have helped the stock market and students/teachers can talk about in a business class, he said. Or a math class might even be able to calculate how long a person could stay down in the hole, he added.
Marsh admitted he spent some time Sunday preparing for questions he anticipated from his students Monday. He knew his classes would be discussing circumstances surrounding the seizure of Saddam and said he thinks other schools did the same.
"I absolutely can't imagine other teachers not talking about this with their students," Marsh said. "There may be some classes where it can't be worked in, but if it's appropriate to your class, there's no reason you shouldn't talk about it."