Linux = difficult again
It's only as difficult as you want to get involved with it.
You boot up a Pi and you get a desktop with a start menu and applications that run with a mouse click. Too difficult? There's absolutely no need to dive in any deeper than necessary because it works fine without being understood.
When I learned computer science at school we hand coded basic programs that ran on a mainframe at the local uni. Don't ask me then how the mainframe OS handled mutlitasking and batch jobs and how many programming languages are involved in making the whole thing work because I didn't need to know. Same now.
Linux on the Pi is simple, versatile and functional enough for purpose. There's no point loading an OS on it that a student is unlikely to ever encounter again.