Saul Loeb / AP

At first, education looked like it might actually play a role in the second presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as they faced off Sunday evening at Washington University in St. Louis.

In a rare move, the candidates fielded a question about educationa natural topic for Hillary Clinton, but a subject that placed Donald Trump in an awkward position amid the focus on his recent comments about women.

The first question came from a teacher: Do you think you’re modeling appropriate behavior for the students watching tonight?

Clinton, who has spoken at length about education and has made the welfare of children a priority for some three decades, responded that she would “make clear to our children that our country really is great.” She mentioned respecting and building each other up.

Trump, who is facing criticism from educators and parents that his actions and comments are not suitable for young ears, largely skirted the question.

In the past several months, teachers have grappled with how to handle Trump’s comments in class. One elementary-school student said, “If I talked like Donald Trump, I’d get sent to the principal’s office immediately.”

Beyond the initial question, education was largely absent, which frustrated debate watchers on Twitter.

Even Katy Perry wanted to hear more about the topic ...

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