Biloxi students voice strong opinions about Syrian conflict

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - President Barack Obama's push to launch a military strike against Syria is not getting much support from at least one class at Biloxi High School. The Syrian conflict is the lesson of the week for the school's U.S. Government Class. The students have pretty strong opinions about whether the U.S. should get involved in the civil war.

"We've been in wars the past 20 years, and we finally got out of Iraq and everything, and I think we just need to remain to ourselves," one student commented Monday.

They've seen the U.S. involved in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, President Obama is pushing for military action against Syria. Many of the students count themselves among the war weary.

"We'd be extending ourselves too far. Our government does not need to be involved in foreign conflict. All of our lives, since we were young, our generation has known being involved in the Middle East, and it's something I personally believe we shouldn't be involved in," said Biloxi High Senior Sarah Grammar.

The lively discussion Monday was just the beginning for the class. All this week, the seniors will be doing a case study on Syria, looking in-depth at the country's history, its civil war, and how military intervention could affect neighboring nations in the Middle East.

"The United States, we're known as the global police and whenever something goes wrong somewhere, the United States usually steps in," said Biloxi High Senior Jovan Coleman. "We've been pulling troops out of the Middle East slowly, but now, Syria has a problem going on and it's like we're going to come out of the Middle East and we're going to send our troops right back into the Middle East."

"A lot of them come from military backgrounds. They're curious, because they want to be involved, they're informed and they want to know more information," said U.S. Government Teacher Deanna Roessling. "They're policy makers now. Some of them are 18 years old and they write letters, they get involved, a lot of them will go to rallies, they read. They may not be actively participating, but they are aware."

The students will also study U.S. policy options involving Syria, ranging from a full military strike to staying out of the conflict altogether.

"Most of us are on the side of not intervening in what's going on in Syria," said Jovan. "I really don't think the United States should take military action, but something does need to be done."

"If the voting population contacts their congressmen and tells them, 'Look, we do not need to be involved in Syria. We need to stay out. We don't need an air strike,' I think the congress will listen. I think they'll oppose the president on this issue," said Sarah.

The lesson wraps up on Friday with a mock summit. The Government students will come up with their own options on what action the U.S. should take in the Syrian conflict.

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