By Ryan Kupperman, executive news editor
Teachers individually opted out of mentioning and discussing 9/11 in their classrooms on Monday Sept. 11, 2017, which was the 16 year anniversary.
According to Gary Judson, the division head of Social Science and World Language, after the ten year anniversary, discussing 9/11 in the classroom has been left to each teacher to decide if they want to talk about it in their classroom.
Judson feels that discussing 9/11 is important when connected to what is being learned in the classroom, which is usually later on in the school year, rather than on the anniversary date.
“I think for several years [after the event], we taught about 9/11, but of course those students had lived through it and had been a part of it, so we did spend some time [discussing the event],” Judson said. “The students in our classes really don’t remember [9/11], so there is not as much of an emotional tie to that … I think it is still important to talk about, but within the context of what’s going on in the class. I think sometimes it’s hard to spend one day in the middle of what you’re teaching, and just throw it in there.”
For upcoming years, Judson wants to see teachers incorporate 9/11 into their lessons, but also discuss the importance of remembering on large anniversary dates, such as every five or ten years.
According to world history teacher Dave Schnell, in previous years the district told teachers how they were going to cover 9/11, such as showing a remembrance video on the morning announcements. Schnell says this year there was no direct mandate from the district, so he opted out of including 9/11 in discussion.
“Talking to some other teachers, we were wondering if this is still one of those events that you still continue to commemorate each year … or only commemorate it at let’s say five year intervals,” Schnell said. “For reference, we don’t do a presentation for Dec. 7.”
However, Schnell feels that if teachers are going to discuss 9/11 in class, they have to spend more time to be careful not to gloss over important facts, because of the amount of context, such as how, why and what happened.
Schnell also says that kids will now be more ignorant of what happened because they were either very young or not born yet when the event occurred. From a world history perspective, Schnell says that 9/11 should be coming up as a part of history towards the end of the year.
According to junior Helen Siavelis, none of her teachers discussed or mentioned 9/11 on Sept. 11, which she feels is a disappointment due to it being an important part of U.S. history. Siavelis also says that this is the first year none of her teachers brought it up in class. In contrast to Judson, Siavelis wants to see more discussions on Sept. 11 or recognizing that it was a day of remembrance for future years.
Although both teachers and students recognize that 9/11 is an important day to remember, teachers are deciding proper times to discuss and teach this event in years to come.
“I don’t think it’s something that we’re devoid of, I don’t think it’s something that we’ll ignore, I think it just has now, a place for it to fit into the history curriculum,” Schnell said.