GLENDALE — Pam Zamanis' students divided themselves into three groups — the pros, cons and undecideds. A few minutes later, two students argued the benefits of euthanasia against more than a dozen of their classmates who politely and articulately disagreed.
It was controversial and revealing as students made their case.
"It's really selfish," eighth-grader Cynthia Ramirez said. "You'll affect everyone if you take your life away."
If the debate seemed high-brow, that's by design, Zamanis said. She has two classes of Advancement via Individual Determination, or AVID, a instructional program designed to help students prepare for college.
Students in the class would be the first in their families to attend a four-year university. More than 75% of students who continue the program through high school graduate from a four-year college, Zamanis said.
"The class is extremely important in that it does teach critical thinking skills," she said. "These kids will learn life skills that will help them forever."