MIAMI (CBSMiami) – High school journalism students at Miami Lakes Educational Center are paying close attention to the campaign trail and presidential debates. It’s part of their class.
“People are assigning this for homework, for students to watch,” said high school senior Cesar Zafra.
The presidential campaign went from PG-13 to rated R after lewd and crude talk on a video from Donald Trump. It was released two days before the second debate, a debate that many young people watched.
“The remarks were very vulgar, very lewd and when you think about a commander in chief, you wouldn’t think of somebody like that,” said senior Carolina Espinal.
These students are learning about one of the ugliest presidential campaigns ever, and they’re watching with a critical eye.
“I was disappointed because both candidates kept dancing around the questions,” said 10th grader Sarah Lemos. “They didn’t really go forth and answer what they needed to.”
They’re also paying attention to strategy, like Trump inviting women to the debate who accused former President Bill Clinton of inappropriate sexual behavior.
“I started to do like research,” said one student, “to Bill Clinton’s past and it made me question, ‘Oh, OK, he’s been accused of so many things, he’s had the scandal with Monica Lewinsky, are they really that much better than Trump?'”
While the latest scandal is uncomfortable to discuss with children – students are forming their own opinions and weighing in on Trump’s answer that his lewd talk was nothing more than locker room chatter.
“I don’t think dismissing it as locker room talk is makes up for the fact that he said it,” said Zafra. Because when you think about it, what you say in private is what most of the time people actually feel.”
The students say they plan on watching very closely for that third debate. That will be a week from Wednesday in Las Vegas.
Click here to read more about Campaign 2016.