City students get lessons of war PERSIAN GULF SHOWDOWN/Impact at home

January 17, 1991|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,Evening Sun Staff Mark Bomster contributed to this story.

Deborah Hamlette drilled her eighth grade social studies students on what she called the bottom line of today's world events: "History repeats itself."

A sign bearing the slogan in her classroom at Chinquapin Middle School in north Baltimore sat below a poster of the Middle East with the giant screaming headline, "Oil and Power."

Elsewhere in the room were T-shirts the students had designed last year with anti-war slogans. Another sign read, "How much do you trust your government?"

The television remained on all morning, so Hamlette's students wouldn't miss any news of war in the Persian Gulf.

She drilled them on the facts of the new war, the anti-war protests, the role of the Congress, the reasons the president declared war. Snapping her fingers and demanding quick thinking, she asked them to describe George Bush.

They called him, "scared," "nervous," "confident," "brave," "cooperative" and "violent."

She had prepared them for this day, if not emotionally, then at least academically.

Interviews with six of her students revealed a keen knowledge of the situation, as well as skepticism and a little mistrust of the president.

Five of the six said they are against the war. Some in Hamlette's all-black class were bitter that a disproportionate number of blacks in the U.S. military may die in Saudi Arabia.

"The whole war is over greediness," said Latrice Quickley. "George Bush is greedy for oil and Saddam Hussein is greedy for land."

"I think it was right because Hussein is trying to take something that's not his," said Timmy Smith, who said if he was old enough he would be willing to join the 400,000 U.S. troops already in the Middle East.

Across town at Northwestern High School, Michael Rosemond found himself on an emotional roller coaster. A junior, he is one of more than 200 junior ROTC cadets at that school.

"I guess I didn't think we should be there up until a few hours ago," he said last night after the bombing began.

"Now I'm supporting it. I hope we're doing the right thing," said Rosemond, 17, who plans to join the Air Force.

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