LEBANON (WISH) - An 8th grade trip to Washington D.C. will go on despite the government shutdown. While the students from Lebanon Middle School won't get to see the Smithsonian or the National Archives, there are still lessons to be learned.
For the first time, in a very real way, they're getting to see how what happens in Washington impacts us here in Indiana.
“It's been a really good thing for them to see, that even though we don't think of Washington DC affecting us, it's affecting the kids because they now see that there are some things that had to be changed about our trip and it's affected even 8th graders in Lebanon middle school,” said Principal Doyle Dunshee.
There had been talk about whether or not to still take the trip with the government still shut down. But the decision to go was unanimous.
“It's the part of the curriculum that isn't designed, but when it happens you teach on it,” said Dunshee.
For Social Studies teacher Don Polston, this trip is the definition of a "teachable moment."
“We hammer home a lot about first Amendment rights and they're going to get to see that in action,” said Polston.
The fact that they won't get to see the Smithsonian or the National Archives, regular stops on this annual trip, hasn't dampened the students' spirits.
When asked how long one 8th grader had been looking forward to the trip, Corie Mooday said, “Weeks, months, I don't know I'm just so excited."
Students have talked about the shutdown in class.
“I don't know much about it other than it's bad and that if they don't do something about it before Thursday, it's gonna get worse,” said Mooday.
But, now the students will get to see firsthand how it impacts them.
“It's the best time to go to see people exercising their rights of protest and to gather peacefully and I think it's important that they see that and they see that people have a say in what's going on,” said Polston.
Rick Downs says he knows this is a once in a lifetime trip, and the one thing he really wants his daughter to see is still open.
“I'm a military guy, I hope she sees Arlington National Cemetery, that's important to me,” said Downs.
“That's probably been the good thing about the government shutdown and us going on the trip is our 8th grade teachers have had the opportunity to talk to the kids about how does the government work,” said Dunshee.
The bus ride is 14 hours. If the government doesn’t reach a consensus on raising the debt limit by Thursday’s deadline, these students could be true witnesses to an historic event.
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