High school students held a mock town hall meeting set in 1976, bringing the Vietnam era to life.
At Maryville High School, the US History and English honors and Advanced Placement classes debated whether the president of the USA should pardon men who resisted the draft during the Vietnam War, taking on the roles of various people of the era. Some of the roles included a draft protester, a mother of a missing soldier, and an airman who had been held as a prisoner of war.
Students researched the history by reading the novel “The Things They Carried,” by Tim O’Brien, and chose roles and crafted their scripts.
The town hall was held over several class sessions. Students presented different points of view, and a group representing “Fugitives Against the Draft” presented their testimony via video, as they represented men who had fled to Canada. The student who portrayed the Canadian ambassador to the United States delivered remarks in French.
At the end of the third class, President Jonah Paszek did not pardon the men who evaded the draft. The presidents in the previous two classes did.
“I think it’s interesting you chose to call them draft evaders,” teacher Brooke Wilson told the students. She explained that at the time, they were called draft dodgers.