Politics teacher apologizes to his students for assigning debate viewing as homework

Kentucky high-school teacher Trent Ashcraft requested that his students watch Sunday night's presidential debate so they could discuss it in class this week. Ashcraft, who teaches American history, U.S. government, and economics, told Select All "I gave them an assignment in which they could watch any of three presidential debates. They had to answer a few questions regarding issues, the moderator, and the strengths and weaknesses of candidates." But midway through Sunday's spectacle, Ashcraft tweeted he wanted to "formally apologize" for making his students watch Trump trail Clinton on foot for 90 straight minutes. A tweet that one of his students, Jake, found, screenshotted, and shared to the tune of 1,500 retweets and counting.

"It was mostly as a joke, but there was a lot of truth to it," Ashcraft said of his apology. "I've always had students watch debates for president, senator, governor, et cetera, because they are wonderful learning experiences. There was very little educational about tonight's display. Rather than learning about important issues, students got to see a man who wants to be president behave in a fashion that would have had him sent to the principal's office." In addition to sharing his teacher's tweet, Jake, who is a senior (and describes Ashcraft as "super chill"), also tuned in to watch Trump and Clinton. "The debates themselves were exactly what I expected them to be: Awful and immature," Jake said. "Not exactly the best candidates in history to watch."

See more from the tense debate:

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Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton take the stage for the second presidential debate
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Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton take the stage for the second presidential debate
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton acknowledge each other at the start of their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton stand together at the start of their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks as Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton listens during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton appear together during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump listens as Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks during their presidential town hall debate with at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Saul Loeb/Pool
Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks during their presidential town hall debate with Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Saul Loeb/Pool
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at the start of the second U.S. presidential town hall debate between Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks as Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton listens and takes notes during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump turns his back as Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton talks about his comments about women during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
Moderators Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz speak before the start of the second U.S. presidential debate between Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. stand before the presidential town hall debate between Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016.
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton acknowledge each other at the start of their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Saul Loeb/Pool
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during the second U.S. presidential town hall debate between Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks as Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton listens during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks during the second U.S. presidential town hall debate between Clinton and Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton listens during their presidential town hall debate with Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
The family of U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, (L-R) Melania, Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr. wait for the presidential town hall debate with U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Marc Mezvinsky, Chelsea Clinton and Former U.S. President Bill Clinton sit at the presidential town hall debate between Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump listens as Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton answers a question from the audience during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speak during her debate against Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump (L) at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during his presidential town hall debate against Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (not shown) at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during the presidential town hall debate with Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speak during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her husband, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, board her campaign plane after the presidential town hall debate against U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton watches as Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump (L) and his wife, Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, participate in their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks during their presidential town hall debate with Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during the presidential town hall debate with Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton pause at the conclusion of their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Saul Loeb/Pool
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks as Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton listens during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Saul Loeb/Pool
Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks during the presidential town hall debate with Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump listens as Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks during their presidential town hall debate with at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
(L-R) Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick and Kathy Shelton sit together in the audience before Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton begin their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks as Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton listens during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump's daughters-in-laws Lara Trump, Vanessa Trump and daughter Tiffany Trump (L-R) are seated at the start of the second U.S. presidential town hall debate between Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Chelsea Clinton and Former U.S. President Bill Clinton arrive at the presidential town hall debate between Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton face the audience during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump looks at Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump is seen during his presidential town hall debate against Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (not shown) at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Journalists Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz prepare to moderate the presidential town hall debate between U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton makes her opening remarks at the start of the second U.S. presidential town hall debate between Clinton and Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton take the stage at the start of their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton shake hands at the end of their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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Ashcraft also said he is considering canceling the rest of the assignment. "If students watched this one, fine. But for those waiting for the last debate to complete the assignment, why bother? Should I subject them to sitting through that nonsense? Heck, parents may not want their teenager watching these candidates," he explained. "I can tell you this, students at my school have shown great interest in discussing third-party candidates."

As for his moment of virality, Ashcraft seemed to have a good sense of humor. (He maintains that Twitter account exclusively for school-related content, because apparently teachers are much cooler in 2016 than they were when I was in high school.) "I guess Jake is Twitter famous now," he joked. "TELL ASHCRAFT I'M SORRY, LMAO," Jake told me in a separate Twitter DM. "He's either going to love me or hate me for this whole thing."


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