Are political debates between a teacher and student in the classroom appropriate?

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A New York high school senior is getting a lot of attention after posting this video on YouYube at the beginning of the month. It's already amassed over a million views!

It's also raising questions about what's appropriate, and what's not, when it comes to political debates in the classroom.

"Normally, if you were going to have an assignment or discussion or debate about politics, then it would be kept in the realm of the students." Dr. Thalia Matherson. She is the Texas Retired Teachers Association District Ten President and taught in Dallas for 34 years.

To give you a little bit of context, according to the teen in the video, it all started when his creative writing teacher asked him why - as a Latino - he supported President Trump since, according to her, the president hates Latinos.

He responds by saying the president doesn't hate Latinos, he just wants to remove illegals from the country. The conversation then turns to police shootings, race, and the definition of 'terrorism.'

"The Vegas shooter, as far as we know, had no political aim. Terrorism, the unlawful use of violence, and intimidation, especially against civilians in the pursuit of political aims, the Vegas shooter, as far as we know, unless something comes out," he says. She follows up with, "That`s not necessarily true."

The student then asks, "What do you mean 'It's the dictionary?' You're not smarter than the dictionary." The teacher replies, "Yes, I am. I bet you I am. Yeah, you dealing with a highly intelligent woman."

Now -- there's nothing wrong with a political debate. Some would argue everything is political these days, but do the waters get murky when it's a teacher arguing against a student?

"I didn't think it was appropriate that the adult allowed the argumentative kind of action to take place," Dr. Matherson says. She has some advice for anyone in a heated debate.

"Adults are to be responsible, and when students or even other adults begin to discuss things and it seems to be getting out of control or people are losing their tempers or it’s getting too emotional, there needs to be someone who has sense enough to say, 'Wait, wait, we are adults,' or 'You are a student, I’m an adult, this stops the conversation.'"

Spoken like a true educator.

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