ORADELL, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Schools in New Jersey are holding mock elections for the 2016 campaign, and in a departure from the real-life campaign, students are focusing on the candidates’ policies, and not on their personal history.

WCBS 880’s Mike Smeltz reports New Jersey schools are trying to teach civility within their civic lessons.

Robert O’Dell is the president of the New Jersey Social Studies Supervisors Association, a group that’s been offering up guidelines for how schools should address this campaign season.

O’Dell said because this election is so controversial, it makes it even more important not to avoid it.

“When we stick our heads in the sand and ignore those challenges to our political process, the schools would be failing if they didn’t help the students address that,” O’Dell said.

O’Dell has been teaching students not to only argue their candidate’s position, but to understand their opponent’s position, to create empathy across the aisle.

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