For the first time in a generation, students started school this fall with the imminent threat that America may go to war.
"When I think about it, it makes me really mad," said Katie Fischer, a ninth-grader at North Junior High School in Boise. "This one guy (Saddam Hussein) is responsible for all our troops being sent over there."Teachers say students are intensely interested in "Operation Desert Shield" in Saudi Arabia and how they could be affected.
Newspapers, magazines and special scholastic publications are the teaching tools being used in Boise classrooms.
"We don't want to assume a shotgun approach," said Steve Tyree, social studies supervisor for the Boise School District. "We want to tie it together to develop a comprehensive understanding of history."
Capital High teacher Blas Telleria said he is constantly looking for current events to integrate into his American government classes. Such events provide relevant examples of how our government works, he said.
Gloria Totorica, also an American government teacher, said she assigns several newspapers and magazines for students to read and compare.
"I always emphasize the importance of gathering information from a variety of sources," Totorica said. "I ask students to pick out the author's bias and compare what is offered."
Kindergarten and first-grade teachers point out to young children that the conflict is "far, far away" and use maps to illustrate that, said Principal Shirley Ewing at Cynthia Mann Elementary School.
Not until fourth grade do students understand and do teachers begin to deal with abstract ideas such as national interest, global power and the consequences of all-out war, Tyree said.
In Susan Jenkins' sixth-grade class at Cynthia Mann, the students are writing letters to service men and women in Saudi Arabia.
The students vent some of their anger about the crisis.
At Capital High School, Telleria said students use derogatory terms such as "raghead" and worse to describe Iraqis.
"It's interesting to see how quickly we have exchanged the Iraqis in place of the old enemy - the Russians," Telleria said.