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JCC What age should teachers explain 9/11 to students?

Discussion in 'Community' started by Ghost, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. Ghost

    Ghost Chosen One star 7

    Oct 13, 2003
    My cousin has a 5 year old daughter in kindergarten, and she posted a facebook status today that she has mixed feelings about the kindergarten teacher teaching the kids about the terrorist attacks on 9/11/01.

    She knows it's a part of history and should be taught, but thinks kindergarten was probably too early to teach it. My cousin wasn't planning on telling her about it for another year or two, and thinks the teacher went into too much detail today.

    What does everyone here think?

    I think that a teacher simply saying that "today is a sad day, when many people died and a war began 11 years ago this day, if you have any more questions you should ask your parents" should be enough. At least for kindergarten. (But this teacher seemed to go farther than that, teaching them about the hijacked planes and suicide bombers, which my cousin's daughter had questions about, asking why the bad guys wanted to kill themselves too)

    And yeah, today's kindergarteners were born 5-6 years after 9/11/01.
  2. tom

    tom Chosen One star 7

    Mar 14, 2004
    not until they are 53.
  3. Lady_Sami_J_Kenobi

    Lady_Sami_J_Kenobi Jedi Master star 6

    Jul 31, 2002
    I agree with you that the teacher should have said pretty much what you said and left the rest up to the parents.
  4. Darth Guy

    Darth Guy Chosen One star 10

    Aug 16, 2002
    The same day they are taught that about 7 times as many children die every day from preventable causes. :)

    Seriously, history is very complicated. And subjective. And never black and white. I'm not entirely comfortable with practically any history children are taught, say, before high school. They learn about wars early on, so I don't really care about kindergartners learning about 9-11.
  5. Lord Vivec

    Lord Vivec Chosen One star 8

    Apr 17, 2006
    Is 9/11 going to become the next bird and the bees?
  6. Lowbacca_1977

    Lowbacca_1977 Jedi Master star 6

    Jun 28, 2006
    You see, when a plane and a building love each other very much....

    Honestly, the focus on this in particular seems a bit overblown to me. Not to say 9/11 wasn't a big deal... but it wasn't THAT big of a deal. Using California standards... maybe 5th grade when they start on American history... but more realistically.... I don't see an issue with it waiting until it can be done more properly in high school US history.
  7. The Loyal Imperial

    The Loyal Imperial Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 19, 2007
    Never too early to start teaching history.
  8. SithLordDarthRichie

    SithLordDarthRichie CR Emeritus: London star 8

    Oct 3, 2003
    When you think children are of appropriate age that they will undestand the events of US History, you bring up 9/11 when talking about the Afghanistan War & general Middle Eastern conflicts in the last 2 decades. They are all linked after all
  9. Condition2SQ

    Condition2SQ Jedi Knight star 4

    Sep 5, 2012
    Regarding the broader sociohistorial, geopolitical, ideological, and theological context, I would agree with Darth_Guy's approach.

    The one thing I would be concerned about vis-a-vis small children, however, is anti-Muslim/Arab backlash. Even if children aren't formally taught about 9/11, they are invariably going to research it online and see the 19 Arab "bad guys", as well as of course learn about masterminds like KSM, al-Zawahiri, and Bin Laden himself. In the diverse and emotionally volatile environment of an elementary school, I'm not sure I would want children processing that unsupervised. Then again, elementary schools are usually pretty good at emphasizing the importance of diversity in general, especially in the K-2 years. (Though I freely acknowledge that is anecdotal, based on my acquaintances/friendships/familial relationships with grade school educators)
  10. Lord Vivec

    Lord Vivec Chosen One star 8

    Apr 17, 2006
    I'm disappointed that this isn't a poll.
  11. Darth Guy

    Darth Guy Chosen One star 10

    Aug 16, 2002
  12. tom

    tom Chosen One star 7

    Mar 14, 2004
    i'm just glad it's not tagged "senate".
    Master_Jacen and harpuah like this.
  13. ShaneP

    ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Mar 26, 2001
    More like last six decades. That's when you get a better understanding that we were spending far too much time empire-building and suffered some severe blowback.

  14. anakinfansince1983

    anakinfansince1983 Nightsister of Four Realms star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Mar 4, 2011
    Last year I worked with several fifth graders who were doing research projects on 9/11; that topic will probably be an option for fifth grade research projects again this year. The books that I have in the library about 9/11 are written at a 4th or 5th grade level. That's the earliest that I would go into a lot of detail about it. My own children are in second grade and kindergarten, and they know that the World Trade Center doesn't exist any more because some bad guys flew airplanes into it and blew it up. And it was a very sad day for America. That's probably as much detail as a kindergartner needs. Just my opinion.

    At the time 9/11 happened, I was teaching middle school--I got the news during my planning period so I was aware of it early on, but the principal immediately sent us a directive not to have televisions on while the children were in our classrooms. She was worried about how they would react. And these were middle school students. Eleven years later, some teachers are going into the details with 5-year-olds. (What ended up happening on 9/11 was the students found out anyway because uptown Charlotte was evacuated at noon, and those parents came to the schools to pick up their kids.)
  15. GenAntilles

    GenAntilles Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jul 24, 2007
    I learned Lincoln was assassinated when I was in kindergarten, I had to play Lincoln in our school play and I kept thinking someone was going to shoot me the entire time.

    But honestly that's just childish fear, nothing more. I saw Tora! Tora! Tora! when I was only 6 or so along with other old war movies. The world is a scary place full of death and pain, better to learn it young and accept it than have it shock you latter in life I say. It may be hard but personally I prefer it.

    Personally I remember 9/11 when I was in the 5th grade watching it live on tv. Never will forget seeing the plane hit the South Tower, class was so silent you could hear a pin drop. Seeing the Pentagon burning, the towers fall. The teacher's crying. Some students seeing the fireball and going 'sweet!' or 'dude!', just kids trying to process something that should be in a movie but somehow is real. Then when school finally ended seeing parents running up to their kids, me and my sister getting in my mom's van as she frantically drove away. I asked if she heard what happened, silly childish notion that I would hear bout something like this first, my sister in the back all excited over everything, to young to understand all the death. My mom calling my dad and asking what we should do. I never will forget asking my mom 'what's going on?' and her reply. 'We're at war now hunny.' And so we have been ever since...

    Now I stand in a classroom and teach students and they act like this day is no different than Dec 7th, just another historical occasion. Time changes the perspective on everything. 40 years from now 9/11 will bring as much horror to students as the Boston Massacre, Gettysburg, and Pearl Harbor.
  16. jp-30

    jp-30 Manager Emeritus star 10 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Dec 14, 2000
    I'd say 9 - 11.
    JoinTheSchwarz , jackg1, cipe and 2 others like this.
  17. ZanderSolo

    ZanderSolo Jedi Master star 3

    May 18, 2007

    I was in middle school and the day it happened I had first period history. The teachers we're instructed to turn the TV's ON at my school so everyone would understand what was going on.I'll never forget my history teacher saying how today we weren't using our textbooks, but living history and we were watching tv for the entire period.

    Frankly he seemed far too smiley at "living history" for my tastes.
  18. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 20, 2002
    Very hard. I was in 6th grade when the attacks happened, and we watched the aftermath on TV half the day. My younger sister (in 1st at the time) was told about it by my mom because I knew and was asking questions, but Mom told her not to talk about it with her friends because not all of them knew what had happened. And even last year, my university paper did a story about how some of the freshmen didn't remember the attack.

    When do kids learn about the Holocaust? Or Pearl Harbor? Or the Sudan? All subjects that should be treated with care. Personally, I think kindergarten is a couple years too young unless parents want to bring it up. Some teachers might have a hard time, though, with kids who know and talk about it with kids who don't know and don't understand.
  19. Alpha-Red

    Alpha-Red Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Apr 25, 2004
    I don't know about that. The Boston Massacre was hardly a massacre in that very few people actually died, and it occurred long ago to a generation that Americans today don't really identify with on an emotional level. Gettysburg was a battle between soldiers, and so was Pearl Harbor. Sure a lot of soldiers died and the pride of our navy was turned into burning wrecks and that's all horrible, but that still has nothing on 9/11. I don't think there's any other instance of ordinary Americans being killed en masse, so that makes 9/11 an unprecedented trauma in our history. Not only that but the attacks turned airliners, which were in a way peaceful symbols of America that you'd see on an everyday basis, into tools of death and destruction. Other countries like Russia and China have in the 20th century seen large numbers of their civilian population butchered by malicious foreigners for no reason, and I don't think they've coped with it particularly well even to the present day. Sure, the death toll of 9/11 was much less than the number of Russian and Chinese civilians killed in WWII, but I don't think America is going to get over this anytime soon either.

    As for the issue regarding the kindergarteners, I think it's best to just keep them in the dark until they're older. It's not that hard, after all school is where you learn most of your history so if you just avoid a subject the kids won't find out. Sure there's the internet, but kids being kids have limited vocabulary and knowledge so it's not like they'll find out on their own any more than we could've educated ourselves about politics or economics from reading newspapers when we were young.
  20. DarthLowBudget

    DarthLowBudget Jedi Master star 5

    Jan 17, 2004
    Airliners are peaceful symbols? They were one of the major targets for terrorist attacks for most of the cold war.
    jp-30 likes this.
  21. JackG

    JackG Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 15, 2011
    I don't mind when students learn about the attacks as long as they know why they happened, too. I don't feel that telling kids "bad Arab people destroyed the World Trade Centre because they're evil". America's imperialist foreign policy should be definitely cited so as not to create a wave of anti-Arabic sentiment. It's an interesting issue: telling the kids too early could result in lack of understanding but telling them when they're old enough to properly comprehend and understand the scenario means they've heard second-hand info up to that point, which can lead to misunderstandings.
  22. GargantuanThrillMachine

    GargantuanThrillMachine Jedi Youngling star 1

    Sep 7, 2012
    just lie to them about it. children are stupid.
  23. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 2, 2000
    I would have been fine with never learning that people were capable of that kind of behavior. I had the privilege of being in college when it happened, so that's when I learned it. Even that's too young.