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Many Residents Glad Senate Trial Is History

February 13, 1999|KATE FOLMAR and PAMELA J. JOHNSON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

"I hear kids in the hall saying jokes about the president," she said. "I've heard more then once, when kids are caught lying, they say, 'Well, the president does it, so it must be OK to lie.' It's ammunition to use in a situation when they're in trouble."

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Likewise, Thousand Oaks resident Kathy Elfand worried about how children would interpret the president's behavior and subsequent acquittal.

"Unless you're a parent, you really don't understand how hard this is to explain," said Elfand, a mother of two. "The best thing to do is be honest with them and tell them what happened."

Buena High physical education teacher Blum, however, said his students were skeptical about the morality of their elected officials long before Clinton came along.

"This is a clear case of being caught lying and then heaping on more lies to cover the ones you've already told," he said. "I don't believe he got away with anything. He was caught lying. I always tell my kids that the truth will set them free. Had Clinton just told the truth, he would have saved himself and his family a lot of agony.

"You know, Clinton didn't invent lying," Blum continued. "People lied before him and they'll lie after him. . . . Most people know the difference between right and wrong. So is lying OK now? No."

Folmar is a Times staff writer. Johnson is a reporter for Times Community News. Times staff writer Coll Metcalfe also contributed to this report.

* ACQUITTAL: Full coverage of Senate vote. A1

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